Half-cent to be added to cigarette tax July 1
A pack of cigarettes will cost about an extra dime due to state taxes.
The state Department of Taxation is reminding tobacco sellers that the tax on each cigarette sold here will increase by half a cent, to 7 cents, July 1.
The state collects the tax from wholesalers and dealers who must purchase cigarette tax stamps and affix them to each pack they distribute.
The new blue stamps are available for purchase from First Hawaiian Bank in rolls of 15,000.
Wholesalers and dealers can still use the current pink stamps after June 30 if they pay the state the difference between the old tax rate and the new.
However, it will be illegal for retailers to sell cigarettes with the current pink stamps on each pack except if they already had them in their inventory or if they received them from licensed wholesalers and dealers on or after July 1.
State lawmakers increased the cigarette tax two years ago, to 6 cents from 5 cents Oct. 1, 2002, to 6.5 cents July 1 and to 7 cents next month.
Earlier this year, lawmakers voted to prohibit the sale of untaxed cigarettes in the state through mail order or the Internet.
The legislation, Senate Bill 2840, CD1, is awaiting Gov. Linda Lingle's consideration.
Federal funds to help Hawaii combat 'ice'
The state will receive $2,944,760 in federal money for a local law enforcement assistance program, according to Hawaii U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo.
The Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program Grant is a program that assists the state in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
Emphasis is placed on controlling violent and drug-related crime.
Kubo said the grant, from the U.S. Department of Justice, will help Hawaii's fight against crystal methamphetamine, or "ice," because it provides money for drug treatment and rehabilitation.
City vehicle inspection station open longer
The city's motor vehicle reconstruction inspection station has expanded its hours to noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. It used to open 1:15 to 3:15 p.m.
The station serves owners of modified cars who are required to get an inspection and certification stating that their vehicles comply with state regulations.
Taxicab inspections are also conducted annually at the facility at 1112 Kapahulu Ave.
Top schools named
in recycling event
The state Department of Health has announced the winners of the 2004 Recycling Challenge, a contest among schools to see who can recycle the most aluminum cans during a school year. More than 12,400 students from 48 elementary schools statewide participated, collecting more than 1.4 million aluminum cans -- more than one can per Hawaii resident.
>> First place: Pearl Ridge, 289 cans per student
>> Second place: Moanalua, 122 cans per student
>> Third place: Mililani Mauka, 84 cans per student
>> Honorable mention: Kaleiopuu, 43 cans per student
>> First place: Pearl City Highlands, 391 cans per student
>> Second place: Manoa, 186 cans per student
>> Third place: Waikiki, 126 cans per student
>> First place: Messiah Lutheran, 247 cans per student
>> Second place: Wailupe Valley School, 212 cans per student
>> Third place: Sunset Beach Christian School, 119 cans per student
Neighbor Island winners
>> Kua O Ka La, Big Island Charter School, 865 cans per student
>> St. Theresa School, Kauai, 692 cans per student
>> Honauau School, Big Island, 150 cans per student
>> St. Catherine Catholic School, Kauai, 148 cans per student
>> Koloa School, Kauai, 50 cans per student
>> Kealakehe, Big Island, 45 cans per student.
Golf tourney raises $165,000 for REHAB
The 10th annual AT&T Hawaii-REHAB Golf Shamble Tournament raised $165,000 for the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, making a total fund-raising amount of $1,082,122 for the past 10 years. Honorary chairs for the May 26 tournament were Jackie Ingamells, of AT&T Hawaii; George Iron, of AIG Hawaii, formerly of AT&T; attorney James Seki; and golfer Mark Chun, former REHAB patient.
AT&T is the tournament sponsor. Corporate sponsors this year were the Hawaii Prince Hotel & Golf Club and Nissan Motor Corp. in Hawaii Inc., with special support from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Teen held in alleged sex assault on girl, 9
A 17-year-old Mililani boy was arrested Friday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl two months ago.
Police said the alleged assault occurred about 2 p.m. April 11.
Police arrested the boy on suspicion of third-degree sexual assault, then released him pending investigation.
Retiree found dead at Pearl Harbor hall
The body of a male military retiree who was staying at Pearl Harbor's bachelor enlisted quarters was found at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Utah Hall, according to Navy officials.
No foul play is suspected and the victim apparently died of natural causes, the Navy said. However, Naval Criminal Investigative Services is investigating the death.
Woman says boyfriend abducted and beat her
Police arrested a 43-year-old Honolulu man Sunday who was wanted for the alleged kidnapping and attack of his girlfriend in April.
Police said that on April 19 the suspect argued with his girlfriend and forced her into her car and drove her to various locations, where he would stop and beat her.
The suspect also threatened the woman, held a knife to her neck and cut her, police said. The woman escaped by jumping out of the car as it was turning onto Kalihi Street, and called police.
The suspect was arrested for investigation of kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, abuse of a household member, auto theft, criminal property damage, and on a warrant in an unrelated case.
Coast Guard evacuates crewman on freighter
A crew member on the freighter Great Land was flown by Coast Guard medical evacuation helicopter to Kahului Airport on Maui yesterday after suffering from chest pains, according to a news release.
Kirk Piper, 50, was taken to Maui Memorial Hospital from the airport via emergency medical services. He was listed in stable condition.
The freighter was 750 miles northeast of Kahului when it called for help. The Coast Guard Command Center diverted the vessel to a position 70 miles northeast of Kahului to safely perform the medical evacuation. An HH-65 helicopter arrived at 2:30 yesterday morning to hoist Piper from the freighter.
Bird nests in chimney blamed for house fire
Firefighters said bird nests in a chimney caused a fire Sunday night that heavily damaged a home in Waimea on the Big Island.
Hawaii County fire crews responded to the alarm at 64-733 Leleua Place about 9:18 p.m. The homeowner, Richard Schnitzler, wife Arlene and their 2-year-old son, Jacob, were home at the time but were not hurt. The fire was extinguished by 10:39 p.m.
Fire crews estimated the damage at $150,000.
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers