Tax office to expand call center hours
The state Department of Taxation has temporarily expanded its call center hours and launched a new phone system in anticipation of more calls about Honolulu's 0.5 percentage-point surcharge tax increase beginning Jan. 1.
The call center's new hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, except state holidays, until June 29. The call center will also be open this Saturday and Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate the heavier call volume.
With the new phone system, callers can check the status of their general excise tax returns and payments over the phone, will be notified of their number in the holding queue and given an estimated wait time to speak with a representative.
To reach the Tax Department's call center, call 808-587-4242, or toll-free at 800-222-3229.
Hawaii in year 2050 is topic of meetings
Residents have an opportunity to be part of the planning effort for the islands' environmental future through design of a Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan, which will be presented to the 2008 Legislature.
The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Task Force, which was established by the 2005 state Legislature, is holding meetings to seek public input about a vision for the future, defining sustainability for Hawaii and identifying things of value for the community. Meetings will be held:
» Nov. 28, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Mililani Mauka Elementary School cafeteria, 95-1111 Makaikai St.
» Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Kailua High School cafeteria, 315 Kuulei Road.
» Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Kapolei Middle School cafeteria, 91-5335 Kapolei Parkway.
» Dec. 5, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., McKinley High School cafeteria, 1039 S. King St.
For more information, see www.hawaii2050.org.
Admission is free, but reservations are suggested because of limited space. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 595-7931, ext. 104.
Maui's Cameron Center names new chief
was appointed executive director of the J. Walter Cameron Center in Wailuku, effective Oct. 16. He replaced Audrey Rocha Reed, president and CEO, who retired after almost 25 years of service. The center houses health and human services agencies.
Gaxiola worked more than 11 years with Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., most recently as operations director.
The second annual Hawaii's Living Reef Awards program recognized Molokai's Kelson "Mac" Poepoe as this year's Living Reef Lifetime Achievement Award winner. He leads Hui Malama o Mo'omomi, a group that instills community responsibility toward resource conservation and creates the means for the community to live a subsistence-based life using a traditional Hawaiian fishery.
Other winners for their contributions to preserving Hawaii's coral reef ecosystem include:
Noncommercial Division: Dr. Carl Berg Jr., chief scientist, Hanalei Watershed Hui; Michelle Kapana-Baird, educator; and Kyle Koyanagi, marine debris operations manager, NOAA Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division.
Commercial Division: Andrew Lockwood, owner, Pacific Islands Institute; Megan Webster, Makai Stewardship Coordinator, Maui Land and Pineapple; and Miqa Klemme, owner, Maui Thrills Eco-Tours.
Police, Fire, Courts
911 call spurs arrests over theft and drugs
Police arrested a man and a woman at a Waikiki apartment yesterday for investigation of various offenses, including the theft of a car and possession of drugs and stolen credit cards.
At about 7:20 a.m., police received a 911 call about four possible suspects staying at the apartment. When officers arrived they arrested a 38-year-old man who was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle and who was also named in several warrants.
Police also arrested a 34-year-old woman on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs, stolen credit cards and other personal information belonging to a number of people.
Gunman at large after robbery at restaurant
A man carrying a gun stole cash from a Makiki restaurant yesterday morning, police said.
Two employees of the restaurant were preparing to open the business when the man forced them into a back room at gunpoint, police said. The suspect then fled on foot.
Couple accosted in Saturday stickup
Police are searching for an armed man who robbed two people early Saturday.
At about 1:30 a.m., a 23-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man were sitting on the steps of their Honolulu apartment when they were robbed at gunpoint by a man in his 30s, police said.
The suspect is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 140 pounds. He was seen wearing a gray T-shirt, black surf shorts and a dark cap. Money and personal items were taken, police said.
Suspects arrested in bus-stop beating
Police arrested a 16-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man Friday for allegedly beating a woman and stealing her handbag at a bus stop.
The victim, 22, told police she was beaten by two of her friends when she met them at a bus stop in Kaimuki. The suspects then took off with her handbag, police said. The woman suffered minor injuries. The handbag was not found, police said.