Hawaii Headline News
Judge denies motion to dismiss marijuana case
HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss felony charges against Rev. Roger Christie, an advocate for the religious use of marijuana.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the dismissal on Friday.
Christie was arrested in 2010 on three counts of conspiracy and growing and possessing 284 marijuana plants.
He's been in federal prison since then and has been denied bail.
The Big Island resident is founder of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which preaches that cannabis is a sacrament.
The Hawaii Senate is considering resolutions urging the court to let Christie free until his trial.
Sen. Russell Ruderman from the Big Island has said it is absurd that Christie has been held for so long.
He has described the minister as "possibly the most peaceful person I've ever known."
Report: Construction in Hawaii picking up
HONOLULU (AP) — University of Hawaii economists say the state's construction industry is picking up again after ending a 5-year slump in 2012.
The university's Economic Research Organization said in a report released Friday that the industry will likely see expansion over the next several years thanks to a boom in solar installations, plus upgrades in the retail and visitors industries, home construction and Honolulu's rail project.
The analysis says besides the rail project slated to cost more than $5 billion, publicly financed construction will be only a modest contributor to growth over several years.
University officials say automatic federal budget cuts enacted in Washington poses some risk to their predictions. But the analysis says direct effects on local construction seem to be limited.
TEEN SWEPT AWAY
Case over NY teen swept to sea to stay in Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge in Honolulu says a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit should stay in Hawaii for the family of a New York teen swept to sea during an excursion on the Big Island.
Chief U.S. District judge Susan Mollway said in the order filed Thursday that moving the case to Jefferson County, Colo., would deprive the family of 15-year-old Tyler Madoff a meaningful day in court.
The companies being sued by Madoff's father pushed for changing courts because of an online agreement signed by Madoff's mother when the trip was originally set up.
The defendants in the lawsuit are Bold Earth Teen Adventures, the adventure company that arranged the trip, Hawaii Pack and Paddle, the local tour company that led the excursion, and a tour guide.
Prosecutors say inmate admits killing cellmate
(Information in the following story is from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com)
HONOLULU (AP) — A 32-year-old inmate is accused of beating his cellmate to death to act out his anger at another inmate at Hawaii's Oahu Community Correctional Center.
According to prosecutors, Joseph Tui Jr. admitted he killed 76-year-old Cyrl Chung.
Tui is charged with first degree murder in connection to the March 9 death.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says it obtained a recording this week of a March 14 hearing of an Oahu grand jury that returned the murder indictment against Tui.
At the hearing, prosecutor Oksana Vincent told state Circuit Judge Richard Perkins that Tui said he killed Chung even though he had nothing against him.
Vincent said Tui was upset with another inmate who was in a separate cell.
US Sen. Hirono announces Hawaii staff
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has chosen a former aide to late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye to lead her Hawaii staff.
The Democratic senator announced Alan Yamamoto as her state director on Friday.
Yamamoto most recently served as senior legislative assistant for Inouye, who died in December.
Hirono also named 10 additional staff members.
She announced Marvin Buenconsejo as her press secretary and field representative, and Lauren Montez-Hernandez as her military liaison and field representative.
Kehau Yap will serve a dual role as field representative and constituent services manager.
Gerald Ako, Ann Ebesuno, Yuki Lei Sugimura, and Ross Wilson have been named field representatives for neighbor islands.
Additional staff members include Hawaii scheduler Chanel Honda, staff assistant Lauren Ige, and military affairs assistant Walt Kaneakua.