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State / In Brief

May 25, 2012
The Associated Press

2 to 4 cyclones are forecast

HONOLULU - A below-normal hurricane season is projected for the Central Pacific Basin this year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu said this year's outlook calls for a 50 percent change of a below-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 percent chance of above-normal season.

Forecasters expect two to four tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. During an average season, there are four to five cyclones.

NOAA issued the outlook Wednesday to urge Hawaii residents to be fully prepared before the hurricane season begins on June 1. Center Director Ray Tanabe says despite two quiet seasons in a row and a forecast for a below-normal season, everyone should be prepared.


Lingle officially enters Senate race

HONOLULU - Former Gov. Linda Lingle is officially a candidate to succeed outgoing U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Lingle's campaign said that she filed federal election papers in downtown Honolulu on Thursday.

The 59-year-old former governor and Maui County mayor will compete for the Republican nomination against attorney John Carroll.

U.S. Rep. Maize Hirono and former congressman Ed Case are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Lingle's campaign said she told supporters the election is about which candidate has experience working with others in a bipartisan fashion to make good things happen for the people of Hawaii.

She said she worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle when she served as governor.

She's citing her work on the Kukui Gardens affordable housing project, the Akaka Bill and energy independence as examples.

Akaka is not running for re-election. He is 87.


Families of men killed in blast sue

HONOLULU - The families of five men killed in a fireworks explosion in an underground Hawaii bunker are suing several companies involved.

Attorney Joseph Wildman filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of the family of Robert Leahey. Attorneys for the four other families were expected to file similar lawsuits.

Last year's blast in central Oahu was so ferocious that trees 40 feet away were scorched.

The men worked for Donaldson Enterprises, which had a contract with a federal agency to destroy illegal fireworks that had been confiscated.

The lawsuits claim multiple companies involved in the disposal of illegal fireworks confiscated by the government were negligent and reckless.

Donaldson Enterprises did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The suit filed on behalf of Leahey's family says six employees including Leahey were dismantling fireworks inside a storage unit when the blast occurred.

The confiscated illegal fireworks also were stored in the same storage unit.

The lawsuit says laws and regulations on fireworks prohibit the disposal of explosives and fireworks in the same location or confined space where the items are being stored.

The Fire Department could not identify a specific point of origin of the explosion in its investigation. Federal agencies are still conducting separate investigations.


Judge mulls sealing of murder evidence

HONOLULU - A Hawaii judge has tabled a decision on whether to temporarily seal documents and video in a case involving a federal agent accused of murdering a man at a Waikiki McDonald's.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn said Thursday after an hourlong hearing that she will likely make a decision by Tuesday.

The state wants the seal and argues defense lawyers for 27-year-old Christopher Deedy want to unfairly portray their side to potential jurors before trial.

Deedy's lawyer said the surveillance and witness video plus screenshots and accompanying documents bolster the argument that Deedy was acting under his duties as a State Department special agent.

A lawyer for three news organizations argued the motion and attachments, which include the video, are public because they were filed in open court.



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