Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

  • What, me worry? I live in Hawaii. The islands' laid-back charm and no-rush attitude are known around the world, but a new study may confirm what residents have known all along — Hawaii is the least-stressed state in the nation.
  • When informed he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry on Monday morning, Maui resident W. S. Merwin described the experience as "lovely."
  • A draft of a state audit is the latest problem for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, already beset by an investigation into alleged criminal misconduct and a legislative attempt to dismantle the agency.
  • A proposed 50 percent surcharge on fireworks could cut sales and ease the concerns of the state's estimated 154,000 lung disease suffers, who often dread the smoky New Year's and Fourth of July celebrations. But the state's largest wholesaler of fireworks warns that a tax of that magnitude could put it and many of its competitors out of business and encourage the use of consumer aerials and other illegal fireworks.
  • This week, Hawaii Air Guard crew chiefs and mechanics got to see one of the 20 F-22s they will receive. The 6-year-old Raptor from the 525th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska made a brief stop at Hickam on its way home from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. By 2011 the squadron will have 20 of the single-seat F-22 Raptors, which it will share with pilots from the Air Force's 531st Fighter Squadron. It will be the only F-22 Raptor squadron in the Air Force led by the Air National Guard.
  • Students at Roosevelt and McKinley high schools in Honolulu will see a drug-sniffing dog this week in a prelude to regular visits whose goal is to detect illicit drugs, alcohol and gunpowder in common areas on campus. The Board of Education will hold a public hearing Tuesday to gather public input before voting next month on whether to allow random searches of lockers in public schools.
  • Budgets, buses and bugs will be among the issues Hawaii County Council members will discuss during committee meetings Tuesday in Keauhou. The Finance Committee's 11 a.m. meeting will also include lawmakers' consideration of Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed $386.3 million operating budget.
  • Maui County Council members are deleting $18 million in transient accommodations tax revenues from the 2010 budget, planning around the expectation that the state will withhold the money it has shared with the counties for years.
  • With James’ Pflueger manslaughter trial quickly approaching, the car dealer’s attorneys and the state Attorney General are set to continue their legal wrangling in earnest in Circuit Court starting today. Pflueger, 82, has been charged with seven counts of manslaughter — one for each of the lives lost on March 14, 2006, in the Ka Loko Reservoir Dam disaster. He pleaded not guilty in January and the trial is scheduled to start in June.
  • We're always debating what to do for dinner. Here's an idea, a free burger at local Jack in The Box locations. The restaurant says its new mini sirloin burgers are the best in town and to prove it, they will give away one burger to each person that asks. The offer will be good through Sunday. At all Jack in The Box restaurants except in Hilo.
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