Hawaii News

Hawaii lawmakers consider minimum wage hike

By AUDREY McAVOY The Associated Press HONOLULU — Lawmakers gathering for the first day of a new legislative session said Wednesday they will consider raising the state’s minimum wage. The state last boosted its minimum wage in 2014, when legislation gradually increased it from ...

Audit: Consultants hold key jobs in Honolulu rail agency

By AUDREY McAVOY The Associated Press HONOLULU — Private consultants hold key senior positions inside the Honolulu agency building the city’s rail line, yet the agency fails to consistently monitor their performance, the state auditor’s second report on the enormously over-budget rail ...

Huge trash-collecting boom heads to the Big Island for fix

HILO (AP) — A trash collection device that broke apart while deployed in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii was scheduled to arrive to the Big Island on Sunday. The 2,000-foot long floating boom was being towed to Hilo after its support crew discovered that a structural ...

Honolulu city attorney targeted in federal corruption probe

HONOLULU — The city of Honolulu’s chief legal officer received a target letter linked to an ongoing federal corruption investigation sparked by allegations that a now-retired police chief and his former prosecutor wife framed a relative for stealing their home mailbox. The target letter ...

Son sentenced for killing, dismembering mom

HONOLULU — A man who admitted to killing and dismembering his mother during an argument in their Honolulu apartment has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Yu Wei Gong was charged with murder after he called police in 2017 to turn himself in after a suicide attempt. He admitted killing his ...

Housing returns to agenda for lawmakers this year

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers plan to once more tackle the state’s housing shortage as they gather for a new session this week. The Senate is expected to consider a proposal from Sen. Stanley Chang, who wants the state to build high-density apartment buildings on state land near stops along ...

Tourism industry keeping Pearl Harbor visitors’ center open

Donations will keep popular site afloat for at least a week HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii tour companies, hotels and airlines are pitching in more than $50,000 to keep the USS Arizona Memorial visitors’ center open during the federal government shutdown. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports ...

Whales to be counted amid shutdown

KAILUA-KONA (AP) — An annual humpback whale count in Hawaii will take place despite the federal government shutdown. West Hawaii Today reported Friday that volunteers from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will coordinate this season’s Ocean Count, a community citizen science ...

Infant diagnosed with rat lungworm

HILO (AP) — The Hawaii Department of Health says a Big Island infant who fell ill in December has been confirmed as 2018’s eighth case of rat lungworm disease in the state. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday that the department said in a statement that the East Hawaii child was ...

US Rep. Gabbard is running for president in 2020

Iraq war vet joining what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field WASHINGTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has announced that she is running for president in 2020. Gabbard said in a CNN interview slated to air today that she will be formally announcing her ...

Auditor: Premature contracts inflated rail costs

By AUDREY McAVOY The Associated Press HONOLULU — Officials prematurely awarded contracts for Honolulu’s commuter rail line a decade ago to minimize public criticism and show the project was moving along. But this practice dramatically swelled costs as plans changed, a new audit of the ...

Big Island jail, courts make changes after mistaken release

HONOLULU (AP) — Officials say procedures have been changed for jails and courts after a man charged with murder was mistakenly released from a Big Island jail last summer. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Hawaii Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda told state ...

Family wants answers after boy dies scuba diving

HONOLULU (AP) — The family of a 13-year-old boy who died while scuba diving off Oahu is searching for answers. Temuulin Tsogt was diving Saturday with his family near Hawaii Kai as part of a tour with Island Divers Hawaii. He was visiting the U.S. from Mongolia. Honolulu Ocean Safety ...

State high court rejects Ewa Democrat’s request for recount of ballots

By AUDREY McAVOY The Associated Press HONOLULU — The Hawaii Supreme Court said Wednesday that Republican Kurt Fevella won the state Senate seat representing Ewa Beach, as it rejected a request by his Democratic opponent Matt LoPresti for a recount of ballots cast on Nov. 6. The ...

Oahu Catholic school to drop upper grades after school year

HONOLULU (AP) — A Catholic school on Oahu is planning to close its middle and high schools at the end of the school year, citing financial difficulties. The board of St. Francis School in Manoa said the entire school could close if enrollment goals are not met. The school chose to ...

Ex-Honolulu band teacher is sentenced in sex assault of teen

HONOLULU (AP) — A former band teacher at a Honolulu private school who was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail. Peter Rucci, 63, pleaded guilty in October to charges of second- and third-degree sexual assault, Hawaii News Now reported ...

Prosecutors consider upping charges in strangulation cases

HILO (AP) — Big Island prosecutors may take more punitive action against perpetrators of domestic strangulation after more than 50 cases were recorded last year, authorities said. Domestic strangulation is a felony crime in Hawaii punishable by up to five years in prison, but prosecutors ...

Big Island prosecutors record 50 strangulations

HILO (AP) — Prosecutors say they are alarmed by the more than 50 cases of domestic strangulation that occurred on the Big Island last year. Hawaii County First Deputy Prosecutor Dale Ross tells the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that strangulation is a predictor for the “subsequent homicide of ...

Lawmaker says state lied about schools maintenance backlog

HONOLULU (AP) — The chairwoman of the House Finance Committee has alleged the state Department of Education lied about the size of a repair and maintenance backlog at Hawaii public schools. State Rep. Sylvia Luke, a Democrat, on Thursday said lawmakers may never learn why the backlog was ...

State House to update sexual harassment plan

Action comes one year after the resignation of former speaker amid allegations from multiple women By AUDREY McAVOY The Associated Press HONOLULU — Leaders of the state House of Representatives announced proposals Monday to update the chamber’s sexual harassment policy, a move that ...