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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
June 16, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:37 AM :: 10379 Views

Pentagon warns of North Korean missile threat to Hawaii, Alaska

At a Senate hearing on missile defense, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn pointed to Pyongyang's recent steps to accelerate its long-range weapons program and agreed with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that the U.S. should be prepared for a "worst-case scenario" with North Korea.

"We think it ultimately could — if taken to its conclusion — it could present a threat to the homeland," Lynn told McCain during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Lynn did not immediately know how long it would take North Korea to build a powerful enough missile to hit Hawaii or Alaska. But Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the West Coast of the United States....

But the Pentagon's spending plan halts a planned expansion of its missile defense system, shaving at least $500 million from key programs, said Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, director of the military's Missile Defense Agency. In all, the missile defense budget is being cut by $1.2 billion, said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

(Meanwhile Obama issued a statement.  A really strong...statement.  Or something.)

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Al Hee using your tax dollars to make $400M bid for Hawaiian Telecom

(Story:  Carlysle buys HawaiianTel hands management to politically connected old boys who run it into the ground.  Now another group of old boys are coming to take over.)

Besides the seller financing, Sandwich Isles said its purchase will rely on low-cost, federal government loans.

Since 1998, Sandwich Isles has obtained more than $400 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The company is headed by Albert Hee, the brother of state Sen. Clayton Hee, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku).

The company's participation in the government loan program and other subsidies has recently come under the scrutiny of an influential member of Congress.

In March, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said Agriculture Department subsidies received by Sandwich Isles and other local carriers such as Sprint Nextel and Mobi PCS amounted to about $13,000 per phone line per year.

Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has advocated reforms to the government's high-cost rural phone subsidy program.

RELATED: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

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Abercrombie:  Hannemann walking out on city's rail transit project

Mayor Mufi Hannemann formed a campaign committee to run for governor yesterday, but his potential opponent, Neil Abercrombie, says the mayor should stay put and finish work on the city's rail transit project....

U.S. Rep. Abercrombie, who is running for governor, said the gambit shows Hannemann "would abandon his responsibilities for the next political opportunity."

Speaking from Washington, Abercrombie said Hannemann "is demonstrating that his commitment is temporary. His intentions are stated clearly. He is raising money because he's going to run," Abercrombie said.

Such a campaign, Abercrombie said, "is leaving the rail project leaderless." Abercrombie, who also supports rail for Honolulu, dismissed Hannemann's pledge to break ground for the $4 billion rail project as a "photo op."

He said Hannemann has not yet put together a needed transit authority, he has not gotten any transit-oriented investment settled nor has he explored all alternatives on routing.

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Candidates Begin Filing To Fill Bainum's Seat

Greg Cuadra, 53, is a realtor and Moiliili resident who serves on the Moiliili-McCully Neighborhood Board.

"We're paying more taxes on our property, our cars, you name it. So, I want to see if there's some way we can find some relief for the taxpayers, if there's a way we can improve our facilities all at the same time," Cuadra said.

Ann Kobayashi, 71, who resigned from the council seat last year to unsuccessfully challenge Mufi Hannemann in the mayor's race also plans to run for her old seat. She is traveling with family in Italy and spoke to KITV by phone on Sunday.  READ ANNOUNCEMENT: Ann Kobayashi Running for Honolulu City Council, District 5

George Waialeale, who at age 61, has lived in the district for 50 years. He called the City Council "dysfunctional."

"Very fractionalized -- 5-3, 4-4, and all of this. I believe I can get involved and bring the city council together and push it (meaning rail?) forward," Waialeale said.

Waialeale is the former business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357 and volunteers as head of the Hawaii Injured Workers Alliance.

Robert Whitaker, 29, described himself as a tele-researcher, who conducts surveys and other research by phone.

RELATED: Kobayashi to seek Bainum's seat

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HGEA Plans Fight Against State Furloughs: Union Says It's Willing To Negotiate Pay, Benefits

Hawaii's biggest public workers union on Monday said Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to furlough state workers is illegal and it plans to block it.

The leader of the Hawaii Government Employees Association said the union will either go to court or the state Labor Relations Board to seek an injunction blocking furloughs, which are scheduled to start in just over two

"We believe this is a pay cut, and pay cuts by their nature are negotiable matters," HGEA President Randy Perreira said.

RELATED: Quicksand, furloughs and layoffs

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City's alleged dumping in stream investigated: Another enviro crime by the Mufia

The investigations were prompted by requests last week from the group EnviroWatch Inc.

EnviroWatch founder Carroll Cox said he received a complaint from city workers who told him that the dumping had been occurring on weekends for the past two years.

Cox said at least one high-ranking official in the city Department of Facility Maintenance was aware of the dumping and had told him some 100 truckloads had been dumped in the area.

"You can't mistakenly dump something for two years," Cox said.

Advertiser: Oahu stream used as illegal dump by city workers

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Feds charge ex-HPD officer

Federal authorities yesterday charged a former Honolulu police officer who has a history of reckless use of firearms, drug use and abuse, for allegedly using illicit drugs and possessing three handguns, including one with a defaced serial number.

Rik Mikio Orton, once hailed as a hero for capturing a prison escapee, was arrested Thursday after a five-hour standoff at his Laie home.

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Shock over reduced sentence (got ten years, to be released in 1 month)

Dana-Nicole Ellisor had been sentenced to 10 years for negligent homicide for a March 27, 2006, crash that killed Christina Galutira, 67.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Strance last month reduced the sentence to 18 months in prison and probation.

In granting the reduction, the judge said the defendant's rehabilitation in prison was "really extraordinary," a news release from the prosecutor's office said.

"We were shocked and we were disappointed, but beyond that, I can't really comment," said Kimberly Taniyama, deputy prosecuting attorney who represented the state in the initial case.

Ellisor will be released in July and be on probation for five years.

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John W Goemans: Lawyer's work opened OHA voting

(Rice v Cayetano attorney) John Goemans, 75, died yesterday at his sister's home in Solvang, Calif. He had pancreatic cancer.

"He was a one-man show. He was dedicated to the law," said Sally Rice of Waimea, Hawaii. "He was very concerned about the native Hawaiian entitlements and their long-term effects on the people of this state, and that's why he took on these lawsuits."

She said the challenge to the OHA Hawaiians-only balloting "was John's idea. He saw the issue and looked for the plaintiff." Her former husband, Big Island kamaaina rancher Harold "Freddy" Rice, signed on.

Goemans was born in Milwaukee, and came to Hawaii after earning a law degree at the University of Virginia. He was a college roommate of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and they remained close friends through the years, said his son.

Goemans served a term in the state House (as a Democrat) and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. House.

His suit challenging the Kamehameha Schools' admission policy was before the high court when the plaintiff, an unnamed student, agreed to a settlement in 2007. Goemans revealed that the school sought the $7 million settlement, despite a confidential agreement

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Phony Warming: Honolulu Temperature Records Questioned

The high in Honolulu Monday was 92 degrees. It was the hottest June 15 since the National Weather Service started keeping track and the 8th straight day we've broken or tied a record. But was it really that hot?

"We had one of our technicians visit the site and they did a side-by-side calibration and found the thermometer at the Honolulu International Airport was reading a little warmer than what his caliberation thermometer was reading," said Tom Birchard, a meteorologist at the NWS.
It was two degrees warmer. There's some wiggle room with the accuracy of the temperature sensor.

Climate surface stations investigated: , Inconvenient Thermometers

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