NK missile launches: Not shot down (Obama calls for US disarmament)
(Not a word on this from Honolulu Advertiser or Star Bulletin...go back to sleep no danger here....)
USA Today: NKorean rocket appears to fizzle, prompts outcry (linked from Advertiser site)
Omnibus tax measure likely unless public employees give
With more than two dozen tax measures that would either raise tax rates or eliminate exemptions and credits still under consideration at the state Legislature, the likelihood that taxpayers will be hit with higher taxes grows by the day.
At the same time, lawmakers are struggling, trying to balance the budget as the revenue outlook continues to decline. What seems to amaze their voting constituency is that, at least to this point, the public employees are unwilling to talk about some sort of compromise to help balance the budget.
(Except for this stray item in the Garden Isle, the tax increase story has completely vanished from the media. It is almost as difficult to find as local info about the NK rocket launch. So Legislative Democrats must be finalizing their tax increases. Democrat media are awaiting instructions on how to spin it.)
SB: Ceded Lands commentary
Lt Gov Duke Aiona:
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding ceded lands should not be looked at in terms of "winners" or "losers." Rather, it should serve as a clear reminder that we, as a community, must commit to reaching a fair and lasting resolution on ceded lands. Despite the disappointment being felt by some, the court's decision does not in any way affect our administration's ongoing commitment to the Hawaiian community....
Contrary to the misinformation being circulated by a few individuals, our administration has no intention of selling or transferring any particular ceded lands.
Many people I know consider the Akaka Bill and the sovereignty issue as unique to the Hawaiian community and have stayed on the sidelines of this debate. In Tuesday's decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, clearly and from opposing political points of view, told us that kind of thinking is wrong. The court is telling us that we're all in this important, exciting and unique political discussion, together. I welcome that opportunity.
Colorado groups fund both sides in Civil Unions debate (SB headline only calls attention to anti-civil unions funding)
Focus On the Family Action, the lobbying wing of an influential Colorado-based Christian ministry, helped finance radio and newspaper advertisements against a civil-unions bill at the state Legislature.
The group spent $20,000 toward the ads, part of a larger $50,000 media campaign by religious conservatives that helped fuel demonstrations against civil unions at the state Capitol.
"They knew that we needed some help, especially with media," said (Democrat former legislator) Dennis Arakaki, interim executive director of the Hawaii Family Forum, which led opposition to the bill.
Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights group, based in Washington, D.C., reported about $2,500 in lobbying expenses in Hawai'i on civil unions during January and February.
Alan Spector, co-chairman of the Family Equality Coalition, which led the drive for civil unions, said his group raised money to cover expenses such as a poll by QMark Research.
Spector said local gay-rights advocates have also received a $20,000 grant from the Gill Foundation, a Denver-based group that promotes equal rights. He said advocates have yet to spend any of the grant money.
The Gill Foundation was founded by Tim Gill, a software entrepreneur who is gay, after battles over a ballot initiative in Colorado that denied gays equal rights.
Extinction crisis? East Maui survey finds unknown plant species
Surveyors working in cooperation with the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife found four of the undetermined species, including a single mature seed capsule.
Surveyors also found new populations of several plant species thought to be near extinction.
Among the most important finds were two species related to the fragrant Hawaiian mokihana and five lobeliad species, the Nature Conservancy said.
The survey stretched across 24 miles, ranging from the 2,700-foot level to the 4,400-foot level.
Hawaii will post list of biggest tax scofflaws on new state Web site
The tax agency plans to start posting names of businesses and individuals who owe the most to the state in the next several weeks. It is readying a Web page linked to the agency's Internet site that will list the name, the type of tax being disregarded and how much the person or business owes.
"We sent them letters last week telling them if they don't pay up entirely or make arrangements to go on an installment plan, that their names will be posted," said Sandy Yahiro, Tax Department deputy director. In all, letters were sent to 41 tax slackers who owe a total of $23 million in late payments, penalties and interest.
To qualify for the list, people must have overdue state taxes, penalties and interest of at least $100,000. Business bills need to total at least $250,000. (How many Legislators will be on this list?)
Honolulu's Chinatown residents want more police to cut violence
It asks the city to double police presence in the area, crack down on "crime, drugs and homelessness" in A'ala Park, hold weekly progress meetings with the community and come up with a plan to reduce crime.
Sentenced to 20 years; Thief to serve at least 40 months (24 priors)
A 22-year-old Ocean View man described by prosecutors as a "professional burglar" has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Hilo Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura set a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and four months for Joshua James Lapinid, who pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree theft and a single count of unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle.
Friday's sentencing covers crimes committed during a five-week spree between Feb. 22 and March 29 last year. At the time, Lapinid was on probation and participating in the Big Island Drug Court program.
"Even the intensive level of supervision in Big Island Drug Court failed to teach Mr. Lapinid the error of his ways and curb his criminality," Skier told the judge. "There are basically two kinds of criminals -- one who commits crimes because of his drug use so he can obtain more drugs, and another for whom drug use is just a symptom of his criminal nature.
"Big Island Drug Court made Mr. Lapinid a better criminal through his sobriety."
Thoene said Lapinid is the product of parental abandonment and institutional abuse.
"He grew up in foster homes," Thoene said. "He was a ward of (Child Protective Services) since the age of 9. ... His father was in prison; his mother was in California. At age 18, he lived on the streets for 10 months."
"You go to a foreign country for a long time, you come back with an accent," Lapinid said in a subdued voice. "After a long stretch (behind bars), you come back changed, more of a criminal." (So lets get him back out on the streets in 40 mos so he can get back to work!)