Thursday, May 7, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Thursday morning edition

Hawaii continues to have the lowest rate of gun-related deaths in the nation, which state officials and a national organization attribute to Hawaii's strict gun laws and low gun ownership.

The Army yesterday said it has given up efforts to retry 1st Lt. Ehren Watada on three charges for refusing to deploy to Iraq in 2006, but has not made up its mind about two other court-martial charges or the possibility of administrative punishment.

The state's $5-billion-a-year budget and an estimated $300 million in tax increases are to be decided in vetoes and possible overrides today and tomorrow.

Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday continued to denounce tax increases approved by the Legislature when she took her message of no new taxes to the people in a live webcast. The governor's Web site was overloaded during the 4:15 p.m. time slot and many late-arriving viewers had trouble loading the page.

A bill that aims to plug a $150 million hole in the state's two-year budget also portends the demise of the state's burgeoning high-technology industry, some lawmakers say.

Two more O'ahu adults appear to have contracted swine flu, which would bring the number of Hawai'i cases to five.

One of two men who allegedly killed and ate a family's pet dog pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree animal cruelty.

Property taxes would be held steady and free bus service continued, but the county's 2 percent land fund would be suspended and prime Hamakua acreage sold under an amended budget Mayor Billy Kenoi released Tuesday.

Furloughs of nonunion county legislative and executive branch workers are off the table in Hawaii County.

As negotiations continue to lay the groundwork for a new Target and expanded Safeway store in Hilo, a final environmental assessment anticipates no significant impacts.

A jury on Wednesday found Kelii Acasia guilty of manslaughter for the beating death of a man in Waikiki last year.

Five Keanae residents launched a campaign this week to stop the state Department of Education from permanently closing the one-room schoolhouse in their remote East Maui community.