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State / In Brief

July 1, 2012
The Associated Press

Freeway to get evening zipper lane

HONOLULU - Hawaii's busiest highway will get a westbound zipper lane to help ease afternoon rush hour.

The state launched the $82-million H-1 Freeway project in a groundbreaking ceremony last week.

The project will create a westbound zipper lane over more than 7 miles between Pearl Harbor and Waikele. Currently, a zipper lane uses movable barriers to add an eastward lane during the morning rush hour. Vehicles must have at least three people to travel in the morning zipper lane from 5:50 a.m. to 8 a.m. Two or more are required from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The afternoon lane will require at least two people.

It's expected to be completed late next year.

A recent report by traffic research firm INRIX said that Honolulu has the worst traffic in the nation.


Court won't review Hawaiian tax breaks

HONOLULU - The U.S. Supreme Court won't review a ruling on tax exemptions for Native Hawaiian homesteaders.

The Hawaii attorney general's office said that the request to review the state Supreme Court decision was denied Friday.

John Corboy and several others filed a taxpayer lawsuit contending the exemptions amount to racial discrimination.

Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the non-Native Hawaiian plaintiffs did not have legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of the tax exemption.

Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Act in 1921 setting aside land for Native Hawaiians that belonged to the Hawaiian Kingdom for $1 per year. The exemptions were later extended, with taxes ranging from $25 to $150 a year.


Tourist pleads guilty to resort murder

KAILUA-KONA - A Washington state man accused of beating his girlfriend to death at a Hawaii resort has pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors said 46-year-old Philip Howard Zimmerman pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder, kidnapping and criminal property damage.

Zimmerman and 44-year-old Susan Brockert, both from Bellevue, Wash., were vacationing at The Fairmont Orchid in South Kohala on the Big Island when she was killed last year.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman agreed to plead guilty in return for prosecutors not seeking an enhanced sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Sentencing was set for Sept. 27.


Church plans to move homeless

WAIANAE, Oahu - A Korean Assembly of God church wants two dozen homeless people to live and work on a Waianae farm.

The Rev. Duk Whan Kim of Hawaii Cedar Church said it's in escrow to buy four acres and four homes on Waianae Valley Road for $400,000 from Mountain View Dairy Inc.

Kim hopes to have the homeless people living on the farm and working four hours a day. He wants eventually to buy adjacent acreage for a kimchee factory and store to employ more homeless people.



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