Friday, August 29, 2014         

Hawaii News

A federal judge in Hawaii says she won't consider approving $2.4 million in settlements for hundreds of Thai farm workers until the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holds a news conference clarifying that the agreements are still subject to court approval.

The federal government is protecting 20 types of colorful coral by putting them on the list of threatened species, partly because of climate change.

Since leaving Hilo in late May, crews aboard two canoes shaped with ancient wisdom have covered more than 4,000 miles of Pacific blue.

The Maui Police Commission has received nearly 20 applications from those seeking to become the county's next police chief.

A transgender man in Arizona who gave birth to three children after beginning to change from female to male can continue to pursue a divorce, a state appeals court said last week in reversing a judge who refused to end the marriage.

A former bellman at a Maui resort has been sentenced to 1 1⁄2 years in jail for stealing from guests' luggage and rooms. John Bueno pleaded no contest to charges of stealing jewelry, electronics and other valuables from March 2012 to February 2013 while working at the Grand Wailea.

Since becoming secretary of state in February 2013, John Kerry has carved out a deserved reputation as the ultimate road warrior. Before his current diplomatic trip, Kerry had traveled 519,136 miles to 51 countries, logging 230 travel days.

Hurricane Julio may be fast departing the Hawaiian Islands, but it posed an extreme hazard Sunday for a drifting sailboat with three people aboard some 400 miles northeast of Oahu.

Voters ousted two veteran legislators in the Democratic primary, House Majority Floor Leader Rida Cabanilla and Sen. Malama Solomon. Cabanilla took a drubbing at the hands of philosophy professor Matt LoPresti.

With storms threatening to disrupt Hawaii's primary election voting on Saturday, more people cast early ballots than voted on Election Day. It was a first for Hawaii, officials said, as more than 160,000 people voted ahead of time.

Incumbent Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. garnered the majority of the votes against three other candidates Saturday in the race for his seat.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa had a strong lead in the crowded race for Maui County mayor in early results Saturday night.

Voters Saturday narrowed the candidate choices for five seats on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees -- an election that comes at a critical juncture as Native Hawaiians step up their pursuit of political self-determination.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui won a chance to retain his job in the general election, in a convincing win over Democratic opponent state Sen. Clayton Hee in Saturday's primary elections.

All six of Hawaii island's Council members seeking re-election were cruising to easy victory Saturday night, including first-term Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who had pushed to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and wanted to ban genetically modified crops.

Two Honolulu City Council candidates -- an incumbent and a political newcomer -- won their seats outright Saturday, while other candidates will march on to runoff elections in November.

Veteran state Rep. Mark Takai coasted to an easier-than-expected win over state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim in the Democratic primary for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat.

Hurricane Julio, which had been in hot pursuit of destructive Iselle, will likely bid adios to Hawaii over the next few days, leaving little behind but high surf on east shores.

In the coming months, Obama will decide whether to build the library in one of the cities he once called home or, perhaps, the place he's considering calling home after he leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Hono­lulu, Chicago or New York.

After the storms, retailers are bracing for a rush of another kind: returns. News that Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio were taking aim at the Hawaiian Islands triggered a shopping frenzy this week as residents stocked up on essentials such as bottled water, Spam and toilet paper.

Two Hawaii island polling sites will be closed Saturday and voting postponed for affected voters while election officials try to determine how to distribute and collect absentee ballots from the areas hemmed in by damaged roads stemming from Tropical Storm Iselle.

Tropical Storm Iselle threw trees into Hawaii island homes and left thousands of people without power Friday but also gave county officials the hope that they had been spared the worst of Iselles powerful punch.

Julio was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane Friday and was expected to show further weakening as it follows a northerly path that could leave Hawaii free of its potentially destructive impacts.

After delivering a nasty blow to Hawaii island, the first tropical cyclone to hit the state in 22 years limped off to the west Friday evening, but not before taking a few shots at the rest of the island chain.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit against former Westfield State University President Evan S. Dobelle on Thursday

The Blood Bank of Hawaii urgently needs blood donors due to a lower-than-normal supply. The blood bank reported a low turnout at donor centers this week as residents prepared for Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio.

Air Force hurricane hunters have been flying WC-130J aircraft through Tropcal Storm Iselle every six hours since Tuesday providing location, wind conditions and other meteoro­logical information to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

A weakening Iselle lost its hurricane status late Thursday as it began to arrive at Hawaii island on a predicted path that would take it south of the other islands.

The power supply and the geothermal plant in Puna proved to be among the first casualties of Iselle as it bore down on the Big Island Thursday night.

At the same time Iselle is wreaking havoc on the Hawaiian Islands, Hurricane Julio continues to churn in its wake, offering a real threat to deliver a rare double whammy of destruction on the state.

A Hawaii County Council candidate has been accused of voter fraud and tax irregularities. Eight people gathered at the state building in Hilo on Wednesday to announce they want the state attorney general's office to investigate alleged tax and voting irregularities by Tiffany Edwards Hunt.

Most of Hawaii's state and county offices, except those providing essential services, were closed Friday as Hurricane Iselle moves through the isles and Hurricane Julio approaches. Scores of schools and some federal offices also were closed.

After Hurricane Iselle surprised forecasters Wednesday by gaining strength, it may now become the first hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii since Iniki 22 years ago.

Honolulu officials are collaborating with emergency service providers and others to ensure Oahu's homeless population is well-informed about hurricane shelters and shuttle service as back-to-back storms approach.

Democrats, concerned about the approaching storms, have called off their traditional election eve rally on Friday in Hilo.

These closures and cancellations have been announced because of approaching Hurricanes Iselle and Julio.

Hurricane Iselle continues to churn menacingly from the east, weakening as it encounters Central Pacific wind shear and cooler waters but still is expected to be capable of unleashing flash flooding, tropical storm-force winds and ocean surge starting Thursday afternoon in Hawaii.

Jeanie Cline loaded 15 cases of Costco bottled water, toilet paper and canned goods into a van Tuesday.

All public schools on Hawaii island and in Maui County will be closed Thursday as Hurricanes Iselle and Julio approach the islands.

Government officials kicked storm planning into a higher gear Monday as Hurricane Iselle appeared to be taking aim at the Hawaiian Islands and another powerful storm was following in its tracks.

The Hawaii County clerk won't evaluate a complaint that a County Council candidate isn't qualified to represent the Puna district because she claimed a homeowner's property tax exemption on a Hilo home.

A Hawaii fish collector has been charged with terroristic threatening for allegedly pulling the air-supply regulator out of the mouth of an anti-aquarium-industry activist while they were both underwater.

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources has denied requests to contest the approval of a sublease for the Thirty Meter Telescope, allowing construction to move forward for what will be one of the largest telescopes in the world.

When Hokule‘a embarked on its global voyage in late May, crew members took with them a pledge signed by some 21 environmental groups and public agencies to advance the goals of the canoe’s latest, most ambitious journey while back at home.

The ex-boyfriend of a Maui woman who was five months pregnant when she disappeared pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge in her death.

U.S.-Japanese naval cooperation is deepening, top U.S. and Japa­nese admirals said Monday as they met on the sidelines of the world's largest maritime exercises.

After spending more than two weeks reconnecting with extended ohana on Tahiti, crews of Hokule‘a and Hikianalia have resumed their ambitious voyage to spread aloha across the globe via canoe.

Four malnourished Hawaiian monk seals from remote atolls northwest of Hawaii's main islands arrived Wednesday for emergency care at a new seal hospital in Kailua-Kona.

Delilah Williams testified at her husband's murder trial that she had stomped on her 5-year-old stepdaughter so hard that she heard bone crack. She said she and her former soldier husband abused the girl regularly.

The National Marine Fisheries Service on Thursday classified as endangered and threatened four distinct populations of a shark species whose fins are favored as an ingredient in shark fin soup.

A California chicken producer has issued its first recall since being linked to an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that has been making people sick for more than a year, company and federal food officials said.

A Honolulu homeless shelter is legally allowed to require a resident to nurse while covered or in a private room, according to a national breast-feeding advocacy group that has researched the issue.

The first product recall has been issued for a California chicken producer since it was linked to an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that has been making people sick for more than a year.

A Honolulu homeless shelter won't take action against a mother who is refusing to cover up while breast-feeding or use a private room, its executive director said Tuesday.

More than 600 jobs and millions of tax dollars could be lost if a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms passes, two Maui County seed companies say.

Two members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have resigned after state lawmakers unanimously passed a bill requiring public financial disclosures from people serving on more than a dozen state boards and commissions.

Hawaii's Board of Land and Natural Resources has approved a sublease for a $1.3 billion telescope that would be one of the world's largest, but the approval is on hold until the board hears objections in a separate review process.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Ed Lynch, managing editor/news, at 529-4758.

A Coast Guard helicopter Sunday plucked from the Pacific Ocean a rower who was participating in a race from Cali­for­nia to Hawaii, the second time in a 24-hour period that authorities were called to help during the inaugural 2,400-mile competition.

The Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokule‘a and Hikianalia arrived in Papeete, the Tahitian capital, Sunday afternoon, returning to the welcoming landfall of Hokule‘a's history-making maiden voyage some 38 years past.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescued four people attempting to row from California to Hawaii. The Coast Guard said Saturday that the rowers were participating in the Great Pacific Race when they reported taking water on board their 24-foot boat

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources began investigating a History channel television show called "American Jungle" after an episode that aired in November raised concerns that unpermitted hunting was taking place on state land on Hawaii island.

Jurors resumed deliberations Tuesday on whether a former Hawaii-based soldier should receive the death penalty for the murder of his 5-year-old daughter.

The winds and squalls came at them relentlessly, but a new generation of navigators aboard Hoku­le‘a appears to have passed its first trials heading into the open sea.

Repeal of a junior kindergarten program and a change in age requirements for entering kindergarten are contributing to a shortage of open slots at Kauai preschools.

Probably the last time you saw Fred Sorenson, he was airlifting Indiana Jones out of a Peruvian jungle after fleeing from Hovito natives with blowguns, bows and arrows.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday deferred a key decision for a $1.3 billion telescope proj­ect, saying the state needs more time to explore legal issues. Board members voted to defer a decision on the sublease for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Five Puna residents are suing Hawaii County and the police to get their confiscated marijuana plants back. Two lawsuits seek the return of dozens of marijuana plants or more than $250,000 in compensation.

Strong, steady trades and lighter, swifter hulls are so far helping Hokule‘a make its fastest time yet to Tahiti, crews sailing on the first international leg of the voyaging canoe's worldwide journey report.

Kauai organizations are planning to protest international maritime exercises hosted by the U.S. Navy this summer. A coalition called Oceans 4 Peace says it will educate the public on the dangers of what it calls "permanent war preparation and naval military harm" to oceans.

The skies off Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet.

Before Apollo astronauts went to the moon, they went to Hawaii to train on the Big Island's lunar landscapes.

Twenty-nine crew members huddled on a canoe deck much like those used by their ancestors and considered the epic journey ahead, as several hundred onlookers watched in hushed anticipation from the shore.

A plan to offer $100 million in tax dollars to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Illinois is on the shelf, with lawmakers prepared to wrap up their spring session without advancing the idea.

In his 12 years as a counselor at Wai­anae High School, Shane Naka­mura never heard of any student getting into an Ivy League university, let alone even applying to one.

Amid the discouraging headlines about the extinction of wildlife species around the world, there is this bright spot: So many new species of animals and plants are discovered every year that no one knows the number.

The winds off Hawaii island still haven't shifted in their favor to sail, so Hoku­le‘a and Hiki­ana­lia will wait at least one more day before launching into the open sea.

The son of a Hollywood director who documented his rage against women for rejecting him killed six people and wounded 13 others during a spasm of terror Friday night.

Hawaii lawmaker John Mizuno and his wife, May Besario Mizuno, are visiting the Philippines to assist in rebuilding efforts after natural disasters last autumn.

All the public ceremonies, tours and extended farewells in Hawaii are pau. Now all that's left for the crews of Hokule‘a and Hikianalia are to make some last-minute canoe fixes, take a few deep breaths and sail around the world.

During a panel discussion Friday at the Palace Theater packed to capacity, eight master navigators from around the Pacific relayed the critical role played by their shared mentor: Pius "Mau" Piailug.

A federal judge in Hawaii has set a July 7 hearing on a motion by "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer to dismiss a sexual abuse lawsuit from a man who claims he was raped as a 17-year-old.

A Hawaii woman who ran an escort service said in a lawsuit that a federal agent entrapped her in a meth­am­pheta­mine case, forced her to be his informant and sexually assaulted her.

After six years of preparation, Hokule‘a has finally pushed off its dock at Sand Island — bound for Hilo, then Tahiti, then new oceans, new ports, new risks and new adventures for the historic Hawaiian voyaging canoe.

Unable to find a good solution to protecting their certified organic seed crops from potential contamination from genetically engineered crops, small organic farmers in this Oregon valley are appealing to a higher power: voters.

A state program aimed at knocking back a toxic weed has released more than 10,000 Madagascan fireweed moths and larvae in the past year.

A filmed underwater confrontation between an environmentalist who wants to shut down the aquarium fish industry in Hawaii and a collector who gathers the fish and sells them for a living has put a spotlight on a long-running conflict over the business.

Days before they're scheduled to leave Oahu for a long-anticipated sail around the world, crews of the Hokule'a are working to eradicate an ant infestation affecting part of the vessel, according to Polynesian Voyaging Society officials.

The bump in hotel tax revenue that state lawmakers offered Hawaii's counties this legislative session was a glass-half-empty raise. Mayors wanted a return to a 44.8 percent share of the transient accommodations tax.

Inmates at Hawaii's women's prison weren't able to visit with their children on Mother's Day because not enough guards showed up for work.

Crew members are making final preparations — and locals are offering farewells and good wishes — as Hokule‘a readies to leave Oahu in less than a week for what aims to be its most ambitious voyage yet.

Hokule'a is still designed to sail and perform as its ancestral wa'a (canoes) did, when centuries ago they pulled much of Polynesia out of the sea. But in many ways this is Hokule'a 2.0.

A Hawaii island oral and cosmetic surgeon with 27 formal complaints — including a man's death and a woman in a coma — is no longer allowed to practice in the state.

At least 2,500 axis deer were killed on Maui last year. The Maui Axis Deer Working Group estimates it killed 1,700 while an additional 875 were killed by the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative.

A massive molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last fall led Hawaii lawmakers to introduce legislation designed to prevent a repeat disaster. But the proposals they crafted failed to survive the 2014 legislative session.

A national organization promoting the labeling of genetically modified food has opened an office in Honolulu. The Center for Food Safety has also established a local political action committee and will get involved in state elections this summer, Hawaii News Now reported.

LIHUE » Kauai County Council members, facing a budget crunch, have advanced a bill that would cut funds for preserving natural spaces.

David Lassner says that while he's never aspired to be president of the University of Hawaii in his nearly 40-year career at the university, he thinks UH has the potential to be the leading public higher education system in the nation and welcomes the opportunity to try to make that happen.

Hawaii lawmakers are following a national trend and challenging Gov. Neil Abercrombie to consider whether children convicted of first-degree murder should be treated differently from murderous adults.

A sexual health information app called Hula is changing its name in the wake of complaints that it is culturally insensitive to Native Hawaiians, the app's owner said Tuesday.

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