POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Missile shot down in Hawaii test

The military says its ground-based mobile missile defense system has successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test in Hawaii.

The military says the target missile was shot down yesterday over the Pacific Ocean.

The target missile was fired from a mobile launch platform off the island of Kauai. Soldiers with the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade then launched an interceptor from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai's west coast.

The Missile Defense Agency said in a statement that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system had “;completed a successful intercept.”;

The technology is specifically designed to shoot down ballistic missiles during their last stage of flight.


Man convicted on multiple charges

A jury recently found 39-year-old Allan Aquino Lafuente guilty of numerous drug-related offenses.

Lafuente was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; two counts of distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and one count of carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense.

These offenses occurred from late 2005 to early 2006. On two separate occasions, Lafuente distributed or assisted in dealing about two ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover police officer, according to a news release.

On a third occasion, Lafuente met with the undercover officer to sell another two ounces of methamphetamine. He was arrested before the transaction took place.

During a search of his van, authorities discovered a loaded semiautomatic gun with 78 rounds of ammunition behind the seat cushion of the driver's seat. Lafuente is to be sentenced July 27 by U.S. District Judge David Ezra.


Panel favors 6 UH regent nominees

The Senate Higher Education Committee is recommending confirmation for six nominees for the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. The nominees — former student regent Michael Dahilig, Kauai regent Ramon S. De La Pena, Servco Pacific Chairman Mark Fukunaga, Travel Industry Management School Dean Emeritus Chuck Gee, Tradewinds Capital Group Managing Director Eric Martinson and Student Regent Grant Teichman — were screened by a Regents Candidate Advisory Council. They will fill the seats of regents held over by Gov. Linda Lingle last year.

The state Supreme Court ruled in December that Lingle could not hold over the former regents and ordered her to appoint new regents from a list provided by the advisory council. Lingle still must appoint two more regents this session to fill other vacancies this year.

The nominees must still be approved by the full Senate.


Obesity program earns federal honor

The state Health Department's Healthy Hawaii Initiative has received a federal award for its work to prevent childhood obesity.

The Surgeon General's Champion Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was presented to state officials during a student event yesterday at Waialae Elementary School.

The DHHS officials' visit was part of a Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future project that recognizes innovative local approaches to encourage kids to eat right and exercise.