Friday, March 06, 2015         

Hawaii News

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and his research team have found the wreckage of a massive Japanese World War II battleship off the Philippines near where it sank more than 70 years ago, he said Wednesday.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis­tration researchers recently tested aerial and ocean drones off the Kohala Coast.

The inactive extreme tip of the June 27 lava flow on Thursday remained about 550 yards from Highway 130 in the area west of the Pahoa fire and police stations, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Officials from Starwood Hotels and Resorts say they intend to convert a portion of the Sheraton Kauai Resort into timeshares as a part of a larger proposal to turn the worldwide corporation's vacation ownership arm into a separate, publicly traded company by the end of this year.

The mountain of bills that Hawaii lawmakers are tackling now looks more like a hill. More than half of the bills introduced just a month ago in the Hawaii House of Representatives have died, and lawmakers are left with 737 of the original 1,515 bills that were on the list in that chamber after pushing key proposals through legislative deadlines.

Hawaii lawmakers are pushing a plan that could increase the fuel taxes that drivers pay at the pump to help fix the state’s crumbling roads and infrastructure.

Brittany Duncan was 14 years old when she fell in love with an older man. But in a matter of months, what she thought was a relationship turned into a nightmare.

A Big Island recycling company has filed a lawsuit that seeks $5.4 million from Hawaii County and alleges a contract breach over scrap metal at landfills in Kona and Hilo.

One of the nation's rainiest cities is parched. Hilo and most of Hawaii island is in a moderate drought, National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Kodama told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Thursday.

A Hawaii County councilwoman has withdrawn two bills regulating the aquarium fish trade. Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille said she'd like to wait and see what happens at the state level, West Hawaii Today reported Thursday.

The managers of Hawaii's state parks are turning to social media to counter online photos and statements encouraging people to visit a waterfall where a landslide killed eight people more than 15 years ago.

A grocery store in Pahoa that closed one week before Christmas when lava from Kilauea Volcano threatened to overtake it will reopen next month.

An animal rescue group is taking in stray cats near Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii island. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday that the nonprofit Hui Pono Holo­ho­lona has rescued a number of cats from areas near lava in the small town of Pahoa.

Each year about 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans, a quantity much higher than previous estimates, according to a new study that tracked marine debris from its source.

Facebook is making it easier to plan for your online afterlife. The world's biggest online social network said Thursday that it will now let users pick someone who can manage their account after they die.

Nearly two dozen Hawaii Marines were treated for exposure to a fire retardant gas Thursday after an extinguishing system accidentally went off in an assault vehicle during a training exercise, but there were no serious injuries, officials said.

A former Halawa Correctional Facility guard is headed to federal prison for eight years for taking bribes from a gang to smuggle drugs and cigarettes to inmates.

A retired soldier who filed a lawsuit saying there were needles in his Burger King sandwich has reached a settlement with the fast-food chain, his lawyer said.

The high winds that damaged and disrupted parts of Windward Oahu on Monday could return later in the week, the National Weather Service is warning.

The oldest living crew member of the battleship USS Arizona to have survived the Japa­nese attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Northern Cali­for­nia at the age of 100.

Affordable housing can be hard to find in Hawaii, and one lawmaker is trying to make it easier on families with Section 8 vouchers.

Even though visitor accommodations were suspended last year at the Four Seasons' Lodge at Koele, and half of the Manele Bay Hotel was closed for renovations, the island's unemployment rate dropped from 4.3 percent in December 2013 to 2.3 percent, the lowest in the state, in December 2014, according to state Department of Labor statistics.

The Good Neighbor Fund — the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's annual Christmas drive — raised $127,703 to help a total of 2,511 people as of Jan. 31.

Developers who want to rebuild Kauai's historic Coco Palms Resort must address concerns raised by the state Historic Preservation Division before any county permits are issued.

The Hawaii County Council has voted to allow attorneys from national advocacy groups Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety to represent it for free as it defends a new law restricting the cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

A congressional stalemate over funding for the Homeland Security Department deepened Thursday as Senate Demo­crats blocked action on the bill for a third straight day to protest Republican language on immigration.

A California man who admitted stashing meth­am­pheta­mine in a vehicle shipped to Hawaii was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison. Eric Castro's sentence is part of a plea agreement for his involvement in a drug ring that dealt 60 pounds of meth in Hawaii between 2001 and 2005.

A lawsuit filed by a retired soldier who says he swallowed needles in a Burger King sandwich is headed for trial after another attempt at a settlement failed.

A tug of war over control of the agriculture industry's use of pesticides and genetically modified crops is playing out in the Legislature as lawmakers consider bills that would limit counties' regulatory abilities and create pesticide buffer zones around schools.

An environmental group Thursday recommended that the federal government spend more to help prevent critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals from becoming extinct.

The defense in a civil trial against the Honolulu police chief's wife started its case Wednesday by trying to cast doubt on the credibility of the uncle suing her. Wednesday's first defense witness was a Bank of Hawaii employee.

A federal judge said Tuesday she's inclined to order a settlement conference for both sides of a lawsuit claiming Hawaii discriminates against those with limited English skills.

The Hawaii County Council is scheduled to consider an attorney's offer for free legal representation to defend its new law restricting genetically modified crops.

Carla Fontes hadn't cut her hair since intermediate school, but her coach at Wai­akea High School, Stan Hara­gu­chi, thought the locks flowing below her waist were interfering with the sport.

A federal judge is allowing a shipping company to pay $600,000 in restitution to environmental organizations as part of a sentence for spilling molasses in Hono­lulu Harbor.

The tip of a lava flow upslope of the Pahoa fire and police stations has remained intermittently active this week while holding its slow-moving pace established about four weeks ago.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said Monday the latest lava flow moved 50 yards overnight after almost a week of little activity.

The path of the lava oozing from Kilauea Volcano remained uncertain Friday as the flow sat not far from Pahoa's main highway.

Legislative leaders from the Hawaii House of Representatives say they plan to focus on fixing infrastructure, encouraging business and increasing participation in government in the new legislative session.

Two breakouts of lava upslope were crusting over Thursday, while the newest flow front heading toward Highway 130 showed signs of widening but had not advanced during the past few days.

As the most recent lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano showed no advancement on Wednesday, two Hawaii island legislators were preparing to propose several bills that they hope will reduce the ill effects of the so-called June 27 lava flow.

A group of voters has renewed its request for an investigation into state Rep. Calvin Say's qualifications to serve.

The new leading edge of the Puna lava flow from Kilauea Volcano that was advancing toward the area's main highway has slowed down significantly during the past few days.

The new leading edge of the Puna lava flow is still active but moving gradually downslope, while weather conditions may be conducive for more brush fires this week.

Friends, patients and colleagues gathered on a Hilo street in a show of support for a doctor accused of improperly charging Medicaid for drug testing of pregnant women.

A breakout of lava heading toward Pahoa's main highway advanced 70 yards Sunday. Hawaii County Civil Defense reported the original flow front remains stalled, while the new breakout has moved to within 700 yards of Highway 130, west of the Pahoa police and fire stations.

The state of Hawaii will correct the process after discovering it didn't hold Senate confirmation hearings for newly appointed deputy directors of state agencies as it should have.

Australian golfer Robert Allenby says he was robbed, beaten and dumped in a park after missing the cut in the Sony Open, leaving him with cuts and a deep scrape on his forehead.

The lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano moved markedly closer to Pahoa's main highway on Saturday. The new breakout had advanced downslope below an area near the original flow front, which remains stalled.

A north-side breakout of lava flowing toward Pahoa from Kilauea Volcano advanced 100 yards Friday while county officials contained two brush fires and a local business announced plans to return to Pahoa Marketplace.

The lava flow inching toward Pahoa caused two brush fires Thursday that continued to burn about 350 acres into the evening. Both fires started from the active lava flow and were burning in a northeast direction, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The nonprofit raising money for President Barack Obama's future library has picked up the pace of its fundraising, with up to $4.4 million rolling in during the final months of 2014, records released Thursday show.

Hawaii has been awarded a grant worth nearly a half-million dollars to help it protect its native forests and drinking water supply, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

A lava-sparked brush fire, which covered about 300 acres, ignited at about 1 p.m. Tuesday west of Highway 130, about 1.5 miles from the Ainaloa subdivision, Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said.

A Hilo attorney has proposed using a helium-filled airship to ferry passengers over active lava if molten rock from Kilauea Volcano crosses Puna's highway, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

The Hawaii County Fire Department was managing a lava-fueled brush fire Tuesday near the stalled flow front in Pahoa. The fire covered about 150 acres.

A Hawaii County panel has approved spending nearly $300,000 to study how geothermal energy development affects Native Hawaiians.

Hokule‘a, the traditional voyaging canoe from Hawaii, continues to push farther south than it's ever been — and its crews continue to explore more of their seafaring roots as they sail down the New Zealand coast.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said Friday that an assessment will be made about whether the $3.9 million Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station, currently used by the public for lava viewing, can be reopened.

A narrow two-fingered flow of lava about 1.6 miles upslope of the Pahoa Marketplace moved 50 yards from Wednesday to Thursday. These two breakouts are active along the northern margin of the flow and are heading north-northeast, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

A breakout lava flow upslope of the stalled front on Wednesday appeared to be taking a different path toward Highway 130, heading south of a farmers market in Pahoa and north of Pahoa Marketplace.

The platters sold at stores in Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii and Nevada have sell-by dates of Jan. 7.

Coffee growers on Maui are bracing for a destructive beetle to eventually make its way to the island. The coffee berry borer has been wreaking havoc on Hawaii island for years. The pest made its way to Oahu in December.

Mother Nature rattled Hawaii island with a pair of small earthquakes Monday as lava breakouts continued upslope from the stalled flow front in Puna and scores of Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers remained without power in the aftermath of an intense storm over the weekend.

The presiding judge in a Hawaii lawsuit over needles found in a Burger King sandwich is upholding a decision that ordered the retired soldier who filed the suit to pay nearly $8,500 for skipping a settlement conference.

While lava flowing toward Pahoa Marketplace continued to stall, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported some activity Monday at an upslope breakout area.

With his wife and child close at hand, Army Maj. Chad Wrigles­worth battled skin cancer for more than a year before dying at age 37.

A Maui homeowner was ordered to repay nearly $30,000 in welfare benefits that authorities said she received while working.

Diamond Head, the extinct volcano that has become synonymous with Wai­kiki Beach, isn't going anywhere, but much of the sand that both locals and visitors enjoy has vanished.

President Barack Obama, his two-week vacation in Hawaii over, will travel to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee this week to draw a connection between actions his administration took early in his presidency and increasingly positive economic trends in sectors such as manufacturing and housing.

A Hawaii island legislator has announced plans to seek support for proposed lava-relief measures when the Legislature convenes for its 2015 session later this month.

Hawaii's Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force will recommend that licenses for marijuana production centers and dispensaries be offered in 2017, according to the state representative overseeing the group.

A virus that killed eight cats on Maui over the summer appears to be dormant, a veterinarian said.

President Barack Obama has preached economic opportunity and equal access to education as cornerstones of the legacy he wants to leave behind.

The front of the so-called June 27 lava flow from Kilauea remained stalled Thursday morning, but a breakout along the south margin of the flow remains active and advanced about 20 yards since Wednesday afternoon, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Pahoa residents enjoyed a bit of temporary relief Wednesday when the leading edge of the lava flow heading toward the area's main highway and marketplace stalled.

Since returning to his childhood home this month on vacation, President Barack Obama has spent a good part of most days cloistered with three peo- ple whose company puts him at ease.

The Japanese New Year tradition of mochi-pounding lived on in Pahoa last week despite the threat of lava.

A couple getting married near the Kane­ohe golf course where President Barack Obama played on Sunday learned the hard way that the big day rarely goes exactly as planned.

Air quality, lost business and access to basic needs are among the top concerns of about 800 Hawaii island residents contending with a lava flow inching toward Pahoa's main highway.

A Maui man who used his fist to stop a suspected shoplifter was ordered Wednesday to complete 200 hours of community service but will be spared a felony conviction and a jail sentence.

The front of the lava flow coming from the Kilauea Volcano advanced another 10 yards Sunday. Hawaii County Civil Defense said the front of the flow remains active but sluggish, moving 15 yards on Saturday after stalling for five days.

After almost a week of no activity, the lava flow front endangering a Pahoa shopping plaza advanced about 15 yards on Saturday.

Hawaii County officials continued Friday to monitor breakouts of lava upslope from the Kilauea Volcano flow front that stalled Monday afternoon. The leading edge of the June 27 lava flow remained about 0.4 mile from Pahoa Marketplace.

Hawaii's Gov. David Ige has appointed five Cabinet members. Ige says all of the appointees have a leadership style that will move Hawaii forward for the benefit of the public. Some are staying on from the previous administration.

The lobby of the Hilo Nani­loa Hotel has been moved down a floor, signaling that long-awaited renovations to the 383-room building have begun. Oahu-based developer Ed Bushor said he's optimistic they will obtain a loan to pay for an estimated $12 million in improvements.

The Makawao History Museum has moved to a new location to gain more exposure within the Makawao community.

They each turned a moment of violence into a call to action. For James Brady that moment came when he was shot and wounded by a would-be presidential assassin. For Chung Eun-yong it was the killings of his two children during the Korean War.

What do two world leaders do when they find themselves on the same Hawaiian island on Christmas Eve? If you're President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, you round up a few aides and make common cause on the golf course.

A blizzard warning was extended until 6 a.m. Thursday for the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Snow on the mountains is common, but a blizzard is unusual.

A lawsuit was filed against the state Department of Human Services on behalf of two boys the suit says were sexually assaulted while in foster care.

A Hawaii island man assumed the role of "judge, jury and executioner" in a 2013 slaying, a judge said Monday in handing him a life sentence for second-degree murder.

In a major course shift to the Hoku­le‘a's journey around the world, the canoe's escort vessel, the Hiki­ana­lia, will sail home early to Hawaii next year and be replaced by a boat capable of towing craft across vast ocean stretches, Polynesian Voyaging Society officials say.

Cameras on drones have provided spectacular videos from Kauai, but residents are filing complaints when the unmanned aircraft fly too close.

In 1997 a devastating flash flood hit Fort Collins, Colo., killing five people and causing $200 million in damage.

Lava from the flow almost took over the village's main road in October before stalling 480 feet away. Now it's heading toward a marketplace vital to the community's well-being.

Maui County film and tourism officials are planning to produce a safety video to be played at airports and in hotel rooms throughout the island to help educate tourists on ocean- and hiking-related dangers.

Severe arthritis in Marlina Tinoco's knees, ankle and back had forced her to take time off from work as a grocery cashier in 2012, but with only temporary disability insurance and her boyfriend's job loss, she fell behind in her rent and utility bills.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials opened Railroad Avenue at noon Saturday to provide an alternate emergency-access route in and out of Pahoa as the Kilauea lava flow continues to advance toward the area's main highway.

Tempering his historic Cuba policy shift with a dose of realism, President Barack Obama said Friday that change might not come quickly to the communist island. He suggested Congress will keep the U.S. economic embargo in place until lawmakers can gauge the pace of progress in the "hermetically sealed society."

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