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Medical pakalolo dispensaries on agenda

The push to develop dispensaries for medical marijuana will be back in the Hawaii Legislature this week when a joint meeting of two House committees takes up the proposal. Supporters say providing legal access to marijuana for patients is long overdue, and House Speaker Joe Souki agreed with that assessment in his opening-day remarks.

More than 200 pages of testimony were submitted for and against the proposal by those who feel strongly that access is needed and others who fear marijuana will fall into the hands of susceptible youths. The House’s Health and Judiciary committees plan to vote on the measure Tuesday afternoon.

Hawaii lawmakers have the day off Monday, but they will be back at work Tuesday, plowing through thousands of bills this week. Here are a few more things to watch this week.

» Local farming: On Tuesday afternoon the Senate Committee on Agriculture will take up a bill that would require the operators of farmers markets to ensure that more than 50 percent of vendors in the market primarily sell food or flowers produced in Hawaii.

» Hungry dogs: Inspired by a dog called Hope, lawmakers want to make it clear who should be held responsible when a canine goes hungry and is deprived of sustenance. The House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection plans to take up the proposal Wednesday afternoon.

» Policing the police: Hawaii lawmakers are looking for ways to increase oversight of the state’s police officers. A panel of three Senate committees plans to vote Tuesday afternoon on a bill that would create a statewide law enforcement standards board.

20 new firefighters to join Honolulu force

Twenty new firefighters will graduate Feb. 27 as members of the Hono­lulu Fire Department’s 100th class.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Hawaii Okinawa Center’s Legacy Ballroom, 94-587 Ukee St.

Members of the 100th are Arnaud Adams, Michael Cote IV, Robb Malefyt, Michelle Balutski, Gregory Eckart, Shannon Medley, Reuben Broad, Robert Frank, Michael Mendez, Aubrey Burris, Kelsey Fukuda, Mark Pang, Kenneth Bwy, Keopele Gowan, Matthew Piskura, Jeremy Caudill, Adam Hass, Darren Tanaka, Christopher Clingan and Jaren Luke.

The new firefighters completed 32 weeks of training.

Former boxer indicted in death of ex-girlfriend

HILO » A Mountain View man awaiting trial in the beating death of an 18-month-old girl has been indicted on a new murder charge in the death of her mother eight months later.

Former professional boxer Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez Jr., 39, was indicted last week on a first- and second-degree murder charge in the death of his former girlfriend, Sommer Ferreira, 20.

Cortez killed Ferreira, according to the indictment, because she had witnessed Cortez fatally beat her daughter, Pomai­kai K. Ferreira.

Sommer Ferreira was "known by him (Cortez) to be a witness in a criminal prosecution and the killing is related to her status as a witness," the indictment reads.

Cortez shared a Wai­naku apartment with Ferreira and her daughter in 2011.

Hawaii island police on Jan. 2, 2011, received a report that the little girl had been taken to Hilo Medical Center and was having trouble breathing. Cortez was questioned and released.

The child was transferred by air ambulance to the Queen’s Medical Center in Ho­n­olulu. She died Jan. 9, 2011.

Sommer Ferreira died in September 2011. Authorities have released few details regarding the manner of her death.

"It is not your routine murder," Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Lee said Thursday.

Police arrested Cortez in late January 2014, and he was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the child.

Following an inquest, the death of Sommer Ferreira was announced in June as a murder case. Police said they had a suspect in the case and that the results of their investigation were being forwarded to prosecutors.

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