Friday, August 5, 2011

Tax relief for cash businesses, NRC chides Army for depleted uranium, Lingle in Democrats' crosshairs, Hawaii farm trafficker case tossed out of court, Kona, Kauai airports under fire, more Hawaii news

Aloun Farms courtesy photo
In a courtroom disaster for the federal government, prosecutors this morning dismissed all criminal charges against brothers Alec and Mike Sou, accused in 2009 of illegally importing and exploiting farm laborers from Thailand. Hawaii Reporter.

Cleared of human trafficking charges, farmers Alec and Mike Sou want to get back to growing crops instead of defending themselves against allegations they forced 44 workers from Thailand to harvest melons, lettuce and pumpkins. Associated Press.

Jurors in the Aloun Farms human trafficking case were stunned by the mid-trial dismissal of all charges Thursday, but said it made sense given that the prosecution had put up a weak case. Civil Beat.

The abrupt collapse of the federal government's prosecution of the Aloun Farms brothers likely will affect how the court handles the related case against Global Horizons Manpower, several attorneys associated with the cases said. Star-Advertiser.

Mike and Alec Sou were just boys when their family arrived as refugees from Laos and began farming a small plot of land in Waianae in 1977, pulling out thorny kiawe bushes and rocks to clear the land. Star-Advertiser.

“What a relief!” Kapolei farmer Alex Sou said to the press after the federal government dropped its long-running criminal case against him and his brother, Mike. Hawaii Reporter.

After three days of trial in the human trafficking case against the owners of Aloun Farms, federal prosecutors on Thursday made a startling move of asking the presiding judge to throw out the charges "in the interest of justice." Hawaii News Now.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday morning dropped charges against two Hawaii businessman on trial in a human trafficking case. KITV4.

It was a stunning turn of events. KHON2.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has wrapped up its investigation of depleted uranium at Pohakuloa Training Area and Schofield Barracks by issuing a "Notice of Violation." West Hawaii Today.

The manager of the Kona Airport has been disciplined for mismanagement, while the manager of Lihue Airport was fired, after numerous complaints about mismanagement on Kauai. KITV4.

National Democrats are setting traps for former Gov. Linda Lingle as she considers a campaign for the U.S. Senate, depicting the Republican as a "partisan bomb-thrower" whose poor judgment led to teacher furloughs that closed public schools. Star-Advertiser.

Tax collectors are taking a gentler approach in going after cash business that bend state tax rules. Hawaii News Now.

Historic Ewa Airfield proposed site for renewable energy park. KHON2.

The ever-changing, ever-growing  market on Oahu is about to get even tighter. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii regulatory agency hears testimony on proposed energy project. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services announced today it has lifted a moratorium on new sewer connections in the Waimanalo Wastewater Treatment Plant service area. Hawaii Independent.

Kilauea Volcano hadn't yet started its current eruption when Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last updated its management plan. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Conservation Conference on O’ahu ended today. The focus during one session was on non-native animals and what to do about them. Hawaii Public Radio.

Improved imaging quality and new software technologies have scientists aiming to map, locate and eliminate invasive plant species before they have a chance to threaten Hawai‘i’s delicate watersheds. Garden Island.

For years, Ocean View scofflaws have used a lava tube near Paradise Parkway and Ohia Drive as their own illegal landfill. West Hawaii Today.

Police arrested and charged three people suspected of operating three separate marijuana farms this week. Tribune-Herald.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. reported a net loss of $2.5 million for the second quarter on Wednesday. Maui News.