TOP 10 STORIES OF '07
STAR-BULLETIN / SEPTEMBER 2007
University of Hawaii football fans Obed Ladao, left, James Pila and Stanton Oyama, watching the game at Eastside Grill on University Avenue, cheer as the Warriors score a touchdown early in the second quarter against Louisiana Tech.
Warriors, Superferry dominated headlines
Two of Hawaii's biggest news stories of the year united the islands, while a third had the opposite effect.
It was a year when athletes, an iconic entertainer and a business struggling to stay afloat dominated the front pages.
Here are the Star-Bulletin's Top 10 news stories of the year:
1. Warrior mania: The unprecedented perfection of the University of Hawaii's football team captured the hearts of the entire state. By the time the Warriors beat the University of Washington to complete their undefeated season, the islands were awash in green T-shirts. The icing on the cake comes out of the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, where thousands of isle residents will be tomorrow to cheer on the team, led by quarterback and Heisman finalist Colt Brennan, as they face the Georgia Bulldogs.
2. Superferry stalls: A massive catamaran-style boat intended to bring island residents together instead revealed deep division in the state. Using civil disobedience and the courts, Kauai and Maui opponents stopped the ship from carrying hundreds of passengers and their cars between islands. It took months and a special session of the state Legislature to get the boat back in business this month.
3. Legend remembered:
STAR-BULLETIN / AUGUST 2007
A brush fire charred 7,000 acres in Waialua in August. Passers-by Dana Ritchie, above left, and Candace Chase pour bottled water on a smoldering ironwood tree along Kaukonahua Road in Poamoho.
Don Ho, the entertainer whose career spanned half a century and whose name was synonymous with Hawaii, died April 14 of heart failure at age 76. The state mourned his death as thousands of residents and tourists came to Waikiki for a service three weeks later in honor of the man who sang "I'll Remember You."
4. Schofield deaths: Forty-one soldiers did not return home with the roughly 7,000 25th Infantry Division soldiers who completed a 15-month deployment to Iraq this fall. On Aug. 22, 10 Schofield Barracks soldiers were among the 14 killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.
5. Brush fires:
Hawaii-born U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential hopeful and a Punahou graduate, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.
A hot, dry summer provided abundant kindling for the many blazes that kept fire crews busy for several months. Major fires on Maui, the Big Island and Oahu led Gov. Linda Lingle to declare a state of emergency in August.
6. Obama rising: Hawaii, a state that has little say in presidential elections, has produced a top contender for the nation's highest office. Hawaii-born Barack Obama, now a Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois, is at or near the top of the polls in key primary states.
7. Kauai crashes: Within four days in March, the Garden Isle witnessed two fatal helicopter crashes. On March 8 a Heli USA tour helicopter plunged into the grass by the Princeville Airport runway, killing the pilot and three passengers and critically injuring three others. On March 11 an Inter-Island helicopter that lost its tail rotor crashed in Haena, killing a passenger and injuring the pilot and three others.
8. Awana out:
STAR-BULLETIN / MAY 2007
Leighton Tseu, left, and Ed Enos throw flowers into the ocean following a memorial service at sea for entertainer Don Ho.
Gov. Linda Lingle's chief of staff Bob Awana resigned in June in the aftermath of a scheme in which he was the victim of blackmail. An Indian man demanded money from Awana, threatening to expose the longtime political operative's relationship with a Filipino woman. The man, Radjatta Patkar, was later convicted on federal charges.
9. Watada waits: The first Army court-martial of Hawaii-born 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq, ended in a mistrial in February. A subsequent attempt at a court-martial has been put on hold by a federal judge who will consider defense claims that a second case would amount to "double jeopardy."
10. Missile tests: The U.S. missile defense program gained traction with successful tests at Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility. On Jan. 26 the first successful intercept by the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was achieved with the downing of a Scud-type missile fired from Barking Sands. Successful THAAD tests followed in April and October. Sea-based intercepts also were conducted by the cruiser USS Lake Erie and the Japanese destroyer Kongo.