Wednesday, May 27, 2015         

Hawaii News

A settlement has been reached in a mother's lawsuit against the federal government over the death of her 5-year-old daughter at the hands of a former Hawaii-based soldier.

Hawaii lawmakers had hopes for rebuilding public trust in the state's police departments, but a number of bills that aimed to initiate reforms died during the 2015 session.

As the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean, Waimanalo Bay's powdery white coral sand glows in the morning light. A few people lounge in the sand as a fisherman casts his line into the turquoise water.

A second Marine died of injuries he suffered when a hybrid military aircraft crashed last weekend during a training exercise at Bellows, the Marine Corps said Wednesday.

Nainoa Thompson, the first Hawaiian in modern times to successfully navigate a voyaging canoe over vast ocean distances using ancient Polynesian techniques, was honored in Washington, D.C., last week for his work in marine conservation and exploration.

A series of earthquakes and shifting ground on the slopes of Kilauea has scientists wondering what will happen next at one of the world's most active volcanoes.

The Hokule‘a's latest crews battled high seas, strong winds and canvas-ripping waves to arrive safely in Australia for the first time in the Hawaiian voyaging canoe's 40-year history.

Like a jock beefing up for a big game, some corals could do far better at withstanding the heavy blows of climate change when pumped with supplements, according to a new University of Miami study.

Before going up to Mauna Kea's summit on Hawaii island, Heather Kaluna makes an offering to Poli­ahu, the snow goddess of the mountain. She holds it sacred, as do other Native Hawaiians.

While federal agents with a warrant were knocking on a door to a luxury Honolulu apartment on a December morning in 2012, agents watching from the ground saw men tossing bags of crystal meth over the 15th-floor balcony.

The Legislature passed a bill that could make it a lot easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates, joining a growing number of states to make the change.

SAN FRANCISCO >> A Cali­for­nia museum has acquired an art collection created by Japa­nese-Americans held in internment camps after an East Coast auction house canceled the sale of photographs and other artifacts amid protests.

A federal review found it takes three to four times as long for the average federal highway project to get started in Hawaii as compared with other states.

President Barack Obama has chosen Chicago to host his future presidential library, two individuals with knowledge of the decision said Thursday, placing the permanent monument to his legacy in the city that launched his improbable ascent to the White House.

Evan Dobelle, the former president of the University of Hawaii and Westfield State University, has agreed to pay $185,000 to settle a state investigation into his spending of the Massachusetts school's funds.

The Hawaii Innocence Project is calling for a review of a man convicted in a notorious 1991 rape, kidnapping and murder case. Attorneys with the project want prosecutors to review the case of Albert "Ian" Schweitzer, one of three men convicted in the death of Dana Ireland, 23, on Hawaii island, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

KATHMANDU, Nepal » Planeloads of supplies, doctors and relief workers from neighboring countries began arriving Sunday in Nepal, a poor Himalayan nation reeling from a powerful earthquake that killed more than 1,900 people and destroyed infrastructure, homes and historical buildings.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. » The Illinois Legislature quickly approved a bill Thursday to ensure that Chicago has legal authority to use public parkland as potential sites for Barack Obama's presidential library and film producer George Lucas' proposed museum.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week released proposed plans for clearing munitions and explosives from a Maui area that was used for bombing practice during World War II.

A group of East Maui taro farmers, fishermen and gatherers recently filed suit against the state, Alexander & Baldwin and others after learning the state granted revocable permits to allow the company to continue to lease land in East Maui for its stream diversions.

A group of Native Hawaiians wants to bring back a centuries-old island burial practice that it says is more environmentally friendly than some modern interment methods.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has proposed establishing new rules to address user conflicts at Kahaluu Bay in Kailua-Kona.

A retired New Mexico police chief and a reserve officer have filed a lawsuit in federal court saying they were arrested without explanation while vacationing in Hawaii.

A mother and daughter who had recently moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii were among four people killed after a speeding car veered into oncoming lanes and crashed head-on into another vehicle on a shortcut between two Las Vegas-area freeways.

A man charged with murder in the disappearance of a pregnant Maui woman has asked the court to suppress evidence in his case.

Nearly two dozen Kauai residents operating bed-and-breakfasts and other visitor accommodations are asking county planning commissioners to come up with clear permit rules and procedures for their businesses.

The Maui Humane Society is embarking on a massive cat sterilization effort to stem the island's overpopulation of feral cats.

Hikianalia, the support canoe that accompanied Hoku­le‘a during its first 11 months of the Malama Honua ("Care for the Earth") voyage, is on its way home to Hawaii, where voyage leaders hope to involve more of the community in the worldwide sail.

Hawaii County is being sued by 14 current and former battalion chiefs who argue their pay and benefits packages are not keeping pace with counterparts and subordinates covered by a collective-bargain­ing agreement.

Hawaii lawmakers are facing down a legislative deadline this week to pass all bills out of the second chamber. Those that don't pass will die, at least for this legislative session.

The Maui County Fire Department says a 50-foot fishing vessel ran aground off Hana. The department says the two men on board were not injured.

Hawaii senators are asking the state to explore whether it's time to take another swing at creating a statewide interisland ferry system.

Jasmine Kaleihiwa Dunlap was on fire the second she stepped on stage Thursday night to deliver a chant of praise for Hi‘i­aka, the youngest sister of Pele. Her voice was a force to be reckoned with.

Offering a lei of gratitude and aloha, kumu Mapu­ana de Silva and Halau Mohala ‘Ilima paid a visit to Mauna Kea early Thursday afternoon. The halau offered a chant and placed a gift of a lei on a stone altar along Daniel K. Ino­uye Highway, just across from Mauna Kea Access Road.

The steep cost of caring for the elderly continues to climb. The median bill for a private room in a nursing home is now $91,250 a year, according to an industry survey out Thursday. In Hawaii it is $135,050.

After flying in to Hilo Airport on Wednesday morning, kumu hula Keola Dalire took her halau straight to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Her older sister, Kapua Dalire-Moe, also planned the same journey Thursday morning.

Delays for medical appointments at Veterans Affairs facilities are shorter than the national average across much of Hawaii, but that's not true of the neighbor islands.

Anticipation is palpable inside Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium and on the streets of Hilo as the Merrie Monarch Festival reaches full momentum.

A retired soldier's lawsuit over swallowing needles in a fast-food burger is being settled for $50,000.

Forty years ago, before Hoku­le‘a sparked a voyaging renaissance around the Pacific, it was simply a daring idea that many in Hawaii doubted would succeed.

Stacey Moniz already picked her bed out Tuesday evening at Women Helping Women Maui's newly renovated women's shelter. "The room with the nice windows is mine," joked the organization's executive director.

Fourteen attorneys general asked Congress to launch an investigation of the herbal supplement industry and to consider giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stronger oversight of the industry, New York Attorney General Eric Schnei­der­man announced.

Joshu Osmanski was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Hono­lulu to three years' probation. He pleaded guilty last year to unlawfully entering the secure area of an airport.

A new government study finds about 3 out of 4 older teens are driving, but rates vary widely by state and city. Hawaii had the lowest percentage of teen drivers, at 53 percent. North Dakota and South Dakota had the largest proportions, at about 90 percent.

A new policy authorizing the nighttime closure of areas at Hono­lulu Airport has drastically reduced the number of homeless people sleeping there, Hawaii transportation officials said.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi charged $892 on his county credit card at a Hono­lulu hostess bar in December 2013, he acknowledged last week, violating county policy that prohibits using county cards for personal expenses or for alcohol.

Hawaii legislators are considering a bill that would ban sex trafficking and treat people who are forced into prostitution as victims instead of criminals.

The two people killed after a hang glider crashed to the ground near Las Vegas have been identified. The Clark County coroner's office said 11-year-old Arys Moorhead of Farmington, N.M., and 55-year-old John Harrison of Waimea, Hawaii, died in the Friday crash.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists on Wednesday downgraded the alert level for Kilauea volcano from warning to watch for the first time since warning levels were reached in September.

When a Vietnam veteran briefly stopped in Hawaii on his way home from war, he vowed to return one day to honor the people who perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With just less than two months to live, Joseph Hooker realized his longtime dream on Wednesday.

Hawaii lawmakers plan to tackle the state's troubled health exchange, public-housing issues and a slew of resolutions this week at the Legislature. Most of the action will be in committee rooms as lawmakers take up bills passed by the other chamber.

Gov. David Ige earned the respect of his colleagues during his long, successful career in the Hawaii Senate, which an outsider might assume earned him political capital to sway votes.

Hawaii's green sea turtle should continue to be classified as threatened because its population is small and nearly all of them nest at the same low-lying atoll, federal wildlife agencies said Friday.

State senators are taking up a proposal to develop a system of medical marijuana dispensaries, which would give patients legal access to the drug nearly 15 years after it became legal in Hawaii.

Mark Miles Jr., 36, also known as "Meezilini," admitted to U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland that he transported Ivanice "Ivy" Harris across state lines to engage in prostitution. Harris was murdered by a Marine in Hawaii two years ago.

After nearly two months of intense scrutiny and vocal opposition to his nomination, Carleton Ching — and the general public — will learn Wednesday whether he's to lead the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Thermal imaging taken from the air Tuesday showed that the lava tube system near Pahoa remains red hot despite the fact there are no active breakouts near the Hawaii island town.

A state House panel passed a bill to provide more affordable housing for working families and Hawaii's most vulnerable, calling for general obligation bonds that would be used to develop homes including micro-housing units.

The Hawaii House of Representatives is poised to pass a state budget that includes slightly less spending than what was requested by the governor, who had warned that there was no extra money for increases to programs in the upcoming two years.

It was always about more than saving dogs. When Kailua-Kona resident Tasi Autele sat down with his daughter Finnley at the Hawaii Island Humane Society on a recent day and reluctantly told her that some pets never find homes, the girl took the news with a child's faith.

Hawaii is known for its sunshine and warmth. But within the Legislature and other public bodies, it's not easy to find out what's happening behind closed doors.

For years, Dr. Craig Kadooka has been trying to persuade his patients to get more exercise. "They would always ask me, ‘What kind of exercise machine should I buy?' I would say, ‘Just walk!"' he said.

Lava breakouts near the stalled fronts of the flow above Pahoa on the Big Island "have waned considerably and might no longer be active," Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said in an update Friday morning.

The Maui man accused of killing his mother told police she tried to stab him with a knife and hit him with a bat during an argument, authorities said.

A Kauai County spokes­woman is headed for a new job as community outreach manager for global agribusiness company Syngenta.

Lava from Kilauea Volcano advanced about 200 yards along the southern flank of the stalled flow front from Saturday morning to Sunday, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported.

Crucial decisions on medical marijuana dispensaries, the future of Hawaii's public hospitals and a tax to fund Honolulu's financially struggling rail project hang in the balance as the Hawaii Legislature approaches a major deadline.

The U.S. Department of Education is giving Hawaii a flawless progress report on reforms that replaced provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Crews past and present Sunday will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the inaugural launch of the voyaging canoe Hoku­le‘a, which represents a dream realized for crew members such as Jenna Ishii, who fell in love with the double-hulled canoe as a third-grader.

The governor is ordering that flags in Hawaii be flown at half-staff to honor the late state Rep. Diana "Mele" Carroll.

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.


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