Cutting back itemized deductions for higher-income state taxpayers seemed one of the ways for the state to make ends meet in the midst of the recession, but unfortunately, those hurt most were lower-income residents dependent on nonprofit organizations.
With the influx of tourism following statehood came a boom in construction, and asbestos was routinely used for cheap insulation. Since being recognized as causing mesothelioma and lung cancer, though, asbestos has been removed — carefully — from many buildings.
Robbie Alm, executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co., and Jeff Mikulina, chief executive officer of Blue Planet Foundation, give their views on Hawaii's energy future
Hawaii is staking out important policy turf in its latest commitment to green energy, pledging to invest in improvements that will save enough in energy expenditures to eventually recoup their cost.
Hawaii folks have always found one aspect of federal government data collection particularly puzzling. How can it make sense that all the disparate cultures and groups of the Asia-Pacific region are frequently lumped together into one category?
Officials with the Hawaii Board of Education are weighing a question that confronts government decisionmakers everywhere: How do you balance control of the public purse with the need to recruit the administrators you need?
Over since Congress abandoned its responsibility to provide Medicaid to Pacific islanders, Hawaii has been saddled with the bill — hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs for migrants who have the right to live and work in the U.S.
The city budget is on the verge of becoming law with a signature from Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a formality that is expected within the week. The document has made headlines as Honolulu's biggest budget ever — $2.16 billion for the coming fiscal year.
A federal contractor employee in Honolulu who leaked classified information to reporters is being hailed by many Americans as a whistleblower who revealed a program that has gathered hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records and Internet data in the battle against terrorism.
An Italian train manufacturer continues to stagger with problems but maintains confidence that it will perform adequately in its major role to construct and operate
People who live in Hawaii are more likely to reach their golden years than residents of most other states — which might seem sweet, but many of those in retirement will be coping with poverty.
Honolulu residents who still harbor any warm and fuzzy feelings about their government after the last few weeks simply haven't been paying attention.
Congress was quick following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to authorize aggressive powers for President George W. Bush's administration to engage in surveillance at a level that eroded Americans' right to privacy.
A lot of people have at last sat up and taken notice of the scourge that is sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace, with a particular concern about the venue in which damage to trust in command is a matter of national security: America's military.
They used to be known as "perennial students" — the ones more interested in perpetuating their life on campus than in finishing their degree. Slow-walking your way to the workforce has always been seen as a luxury and, with tuitions skyrocketing out of reach, it's now a luxury that very few can afford.
Transitions to a new business reality can be rocky, and this week the relations between the state's largest power utility and its regulator got a bit rocky as well.
The design of helmets fashioned after the likes of Tour de France cyclists might look snazzy but many young skateboarders are more likely to wear baseball caps. For their own good, they should wear helmets — a requirement that the City Council is proposing to put into law.
A Hawaii company that provides telephone and high-speed Internet services to Hawaiian Home Lands residents has been receiving exorbitant amounts of federal funds for years and the Federal Communication Commission at last has decided to put an end to what it describes as "wasteful expenses."
For the patient worried about how health care reform is about to change everything, say the experts, the good news is that change will come, but very, very gradually. The ironic part is, that's also the bad news.
Hawaii health care planners have been batting specialized terms back and forth for years now — "patient-centered medical home," "accountable care organizations," "community care teams" and the like. At the end of the month, officials will invite the rest of the public to join the conversation.
The honeymoon is over at Honolulu Hale — if there ever really was one. Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the leadership of the Honolulu City Council have drawn swords over the correct approach to the city's operating and capital budgets.
One-fourth of Oahu residents will be over 60 years old by 2030 and it's time that hospitals prepare for the aging population. Fortunately, St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii is taking steps to prepare for the increasing number of seniors, and other medical organizations should do the same.
Business trips account for about 9 percent of all travel and the segment is growing, so the state's opening of the Hawai‘i Convention Center 15 years ago was expected to be a big boost in Honolulu receiving a large share. The result, however, has been disappointing.
Kailua residents feel intensely protective about their hometown, even if most of them own only the tiniest piece of it, at the most. Kaneohe Ranch is one of the major landlords, however, and when its plans for redeveloping 15 acres in the town center were discussed in long-running community meetings, the community turned out in force.
In the absence of action by the U.S. Interior Department, a state Senate committee has assumed oversight of the highly criticized Department of Hawaii Home Lands, a challenging task that should not be taken lightly.
As much of urban Honolulu redevelops in the coming decades, there's been a lot of concern that the new communities include housing for people at the lower ends of the income scale as well as for those ready to move into posh condominiums.
Families are making special visits to cemeteries today, places dotted with the names of loved ones who died in military service, a gesture to demonstrate that they have not been forgotten.
Online shopping — e-commerce — is big business. Huge. It generated $231 billion in sales for U.S. retailers last year, according to technology and market research firm Forrester, and is expected this year to increase 13 percent, to $262 billion.
Generally waivers are seen as a device that makes things go somewhat easier, but that may not be the correct way to interpret the one that now applies to the state's No Child Left Behind educational directive.
Individual residential tower projects have drawn attention to the booming transformation of Kakaako, but plans by the urban neighborhood's biggest landowner deserve special attention.
The conceptual plan for redeveloping the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, just unveiled by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, is like many of the Kakaako blueprints the state agency oversees.
Hawaii legislators this year chose not to follow Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana for personal use, but approved a move that has been an obvious path for years: placing the medical marijuana program under the Department of Health.
Two new state laws aim to make Hawaii's roads safer for drivers and their passengers — banning use of hand-held cellphones while driving and requiring back-seat passengers to buckle up — but there's more to the equation than mere public safety.
When people refer to a prisoner or criminal suspect as being "in custody," the term generally conveys the notion that government controls that person's movements.
If the three controversies that beset the Obama administration last week, the most serious accusation came from the story with the least political sizzle. The fallout from the Benghazi terrorist attack derived its potency from the four deaths that resulted.
The utterance at the state Legislature that produced the most consternation wasn’t a word at all, but four letters: PLDC.
The University of Hawaii's Board of Regents has found a way to retire a large financial deficit of the athletic department, a victory for many residents who consider major college sports in Hawaii a necessity.
A favorite childhood memory, said state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, was watching the crop-dusting planes fly over Hawaii island fields and wondering what it would be like to be a pilot himself.
In the end, the administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie was thrilled at the outcome of its watershed-protection plan, even though it followed a zig-zag path.
Even the most attentive political junkies can miss things at the state Capitol. A lot of things.
It's graduation weekend for many Hawaii high school seniors, who are marking what is often a bittersweet moment: completion of their primary educational credential and a parting from many classmates whose lives are about to diverge.
Legislators learned nearly three years ago about "dysfunctional" practices in the state's Airports Division leading to the resignation of a high official. Now, the state auditor has released a report about the extraordinary scope of "questionable practices" during that period, fiscal 2009 and 2010, based on government documentation — but a broad investigation by the state attorney general is needed to determine whether prosecution is warranted.
The spot known as Thomas Square has a revered position in the history of Hawaii, far more so than anyone looking at it today might guess.
The state Legislature created an agency 37 years ago to devise an urban plan for Kakaako, at that time covered with warehouses, car repair shops and various rundown structures.
Honolulu water ratepayers' response to a doubling of the billing fee is suffering from what could be described as Last Straw Syndrome. Costs are going up on everything, including the water rates. The boost is meant to cover long-overdue maintenance of the city's water system, and everyone gets that they have to pay up for something like that.
The mentally ill and substance abusers make up more than a third of Honolulu's unsheltered homeless and account for an inflated drain on public resources in their cycle through hospital emergency rooms and jail.
High school graduation day looms for many isle families, a lei-bedecked occasion filled with balloons, parties and happiness.
You can't blame the Hawaii consumer for being flummoxed by the data just issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The performance of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in providing leases to Native Hawaiians has been disgraceful for decades — and strong oversight, federal and state, is needed to put it squarely on the right track.
Few states have so many people living in as tight quarters as Hawaii does — so what people do, even within their four walls, can have a greater effect on their neighbors.
The announced retirement of University of Hawaii President M.R.C Greenwood has sparked the inevitable round of speculation.
The prospects for Kapolei growing into a fully fledged second city are getting brighter. With the economy recovering, retailers and restaurants have been added to Oahu's "second city," with commercial development from Fort Weaver Road to the western stretches of Kapolei going forward.
The sellout of a lottery among middle-class buyers in March for a planned condominium tower on South Street was a strong sign of a need for affordable housing in Kakaako.
There are 3,700 acres of land, formerly under the control of the Navy, that were turned over to the state as part of a national series of base closures.
Despite some lingering uncertainty, Hawaii's economy appears to be mending, and developers who have waited in the wings are showing more confidence in their projects.
Long before sustainability became fashionable, ancient Hawaiians built an extensive aquaculture system across the archipelago that included more than 400 fishponds that contained prized fish for ali‘i.
The now unavoidable June 30 expiration of Hawaii's media shield law, a model statute nationally, will deal a blow to advocates of robust news reporting. They must press forward to resurrect its protections in the next session of the Legislature.
A natatorium was erected along with arches in 1927 to honor the veterans of World War I but the pool was closed in 1979 after being deemed a health and safety hazard.
Hawaii is at a crossroads. Most of the efforts to plan for its future have positioned Oahu as the population center of the state. And while that surely will remain true, there will be enough of a shift that residents of the neighbor islands will need to take a firmer grasp of the reins to have any kind of preferred future.
Congress appears nearing enactment of legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system that, while focusing on illegal immigrants who crossed the U.S. southern border, would have a positive effect on Hawaii.
Until very recently, nearly all news involving Hawaii's tourism industry was golden.
Unprecedented rates of arrivals, with a record 7.99 million visitors last year spending $14.3 billion — and 8.5 million forecast for this year.
For the past 30 years, voters in Hawaii's primary elections have been able to vote for candidates they prefer without being registered with any political party — but the Democratic Party here wants to challenge that system in court.
Hawaii statewide politics has never been this exciting — or exhausting, depending on your point of view.
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Star-Advertiser’s online edition can respond to stories posted there. The following are some of those. Instead of names, pseudonyms are generally used online. They have been removed.
The “war on terror” is probably a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic used in the pursuit of a limited goal, an instrument to cause mayhem rather than to defeat an enemy. In the final analysis, the best way to neutralize such an instrument may be to find ways of responding with the least degree of disturbance to daily routines.
The reason to take a measured approach when changing community habits can be summarized in one word: education. The City Council is attempting to redefine what's proper behavior at city parks by declaring smoking a prohibited activity in most areas where people gather.
Across the nation, 41 other states have found a better way than we have to help the most vulnerable of their mentally ill population. Here, many of those in this group, people who are so ill that they've lost the ability to care for themselves, also have family or loved ones who can intervene on their behalf.
The state stands on the verge of a promising campaign for leveraging the value of school lands for the benefit of public education. This may end up being the only scheme for public-land redevelopment that survives this legislative session, after the repeal of the controversial Public Land Development Corp.
Family pets are popular in Hawaii — and with an expected boom of apartment rentals in urban Honolulu, the time is right to make it easier for landlords to accept pets by mitigating concerns about pet damage in rentals.
Following the example set by the city, the state is beginning a process of extricating itself from direct ownership and management of its affordable-housing properties.
Gary Hooser, former state lawmaker and head of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, had seen his share of public-policy debates.
The term "perfect storm" is bandied about too casually, but there's one that now truly seems to be bearing down on Hawaii.
Along with Hawaii's statehood in 1959 came the responsibility to make available for lease 200,000 acres of land, for $1 yearly per lease, that had been ceded to the United States for Native Hawaiians unable to afford home purchases in the regular market.
As a policy goal, the campaign to expand access to preschool is a good one, and making use of Hawaii's existing network of private preschools is logical.
There is no doubt that keeping tabs on city personnel and vacancies is a fluid proposition, but there should be a better way for budgeting so that funds meant to fill positions simply are not siphoned off for other uses.
There are so many raw emotions to sort through following a heinous attack such as the one Boston suffered during its iconic marathon on Monday, and even more raw information.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled three years ago that political action committees consisting of corporations as well as labor unions and other special interests have a First Amendment right to spend freely on elections.
Little has been done in recent years of economic stagnation to deal with the increasing liability for the costs of health care for retired state and county employees.
Making the rounds upon becoming president of Hawaii Pacific University, Geoffrey Bannister told then-Mayor Peter Carlisle in the summer of 2011 "that I was new to town, that if anything was coming up that looked interesting, he'd probably hear about it before I did, and I asked him to let me know."
There's bad news and good news about Honolulu's rail transit system. First, the bad news: There's less money than anticipated, and needed modifications will result in higher costs.
The challenge presented by Hawaii's "silver wave" — the surge of elders growing infirm as the baby boom generation retires — has many facets, not the least of which is the accompanying increase in those with mental illness also requiring nursing care.
Requiring an archaeological inventory survey (AIS) before a new project is built is one of the concessions Hawaii made to preserving its history.
Organized labor has suggested for years that employees of a large business in Hawaii should be guaranteed by law to keep their jobs in case the company is sold. Such job security, though, would be unprecedented and could result in major problems for companies being put up for sale.
The public has only limited means to constrain state lawmakers in the conduct of their business. Legislators are not even covered by most of the conflicts-of-interest provisions of the state ethics code, for example.
Once again, state politicians confront a delicate political problem: Should they get a raise? In the last few weeks, salary commissions for both the city and state have recommended pay increases for lawmakers and other government officials.
The high-tech expert hired by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to upgrade the state's aging computer and technology systems received a national award for extraordinary achievement last month, so Hawaii's "F" in a national rating of how states provide online access illustrates the complexity of the problem.
June Mather is largely done raising her four kids, who are now in college or beyond, and she's glad she made the decision to take charge of their K-12 education herself. Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but she listens, unconvinced, to the current proposals moving Hawaii toward universal preschool.
Honolulu has a truly horrible problem with homelessness, and perhaps now we've finally reached a tipping point where there's the political will to tackle it.
Noy Worachit is 20 years old and thankful to her foster parents for continuing to allow her and her 2-year-old daughter to stay in their home even though their state support ran out when she turned 18.
Act 210, the so-called journalists' shield law, protects reporters and their sources of information from subpoenas in certain criminal and civil proceedings. The act is similar to protections provided in 48 other states and the District of Columbia.
It's ironic that when the first Merrie Monarch Festival convened in 1964, it was designed as an attraction for tourists to help Hilo recover economically from the devastating tsunami of 1960 (there had been another scare that year, but the really bad one happened four years earlier).
The University of Hawaii is behind in its needed repairs and maintenance — part of a broad problem with its overall handling of construction projects.
In a still-recovering economy, it makes sense to provide modest tax relief for many of Hawaii's small-business owners, especially when they pay some of the highest income tax rates in the country.
The Public Land Development Corp., a streamlined state and private partnership approved by the Legislature two years ago for development projects, has been met with rightful public fury, and legislators must not waver now in the need to repeal it.
Today's obsession with celebrity culture is pushing and pulling at the thin boundary between public-figure access and that person's right to privacy.
The roads in Hawaii, where it's high season for driving all year round, show the scars of their overuse.
The absurdity of the notion that North Korea poses a threat to Hawaii or Guam with nuclear missiles doesn't mean that it should be laughed away. The Obama administration's policy of "strategic patience" over the past two years needs revision to end Pyongyang's repeated provocations.
Hawaii has competed successfully for decades to lure the film industry and should continue the effort — but it need not sweeten the pot at this stage.
For nearly a century, foreign-built ships have been blocked from carrying cargo directly from the mainland to Hawaii, resulting in higher prices for consumers.
The University of Hawaii administration has embarked on a fact-finding mission with a goal that all should recognize as critical: delivering college education with improved efficiency.