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POSTED: Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tax revenues down nearly 10%

Hawaii's general fund tax revenues this fiscal year are down nearly 10 percent from last year with only one month left, according to figures released yesterday by the state tax office.

The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Through the end of May, the state had collected a little more than $3.8 billion in taxes, $414.7 million less than during the same period last year, a decrease of 9.8 percent.

On May 28 the state Council on Revenues predicted a revenue drop of 9 percent for this fiscal year from last year, and no growth next year.

That prompted Gov. Linda Lingle to announce three-day-per-month furloughs for state employees for two years beginning July 1 to make up the projected shortfall. Public employee unions say Lingle must negotiate furloughs, and labor attorneys have said the issue could end up in court.

Threat to Obama lands man in prison

A Kaneohe man diagnosed with a schizophrenic disorder will spend a year and a half in federal prison for threatening to attack President Barack Obama with a slingshot and marble.

U.S. District Senior Judge Helen Gillmor also sentenced Mark Miyashiro to three years' supervised release after serving his prison term.

Miyashiro pleaded guilty March 25.

He first told his treating physician that he planned to attack Obama last December, and repeated the threat to U.S. Secret Service agents who interviewed him after the physician reported him to authorities.

Miyashiro said he planned to attack Obama when the then-president-elect visited Oahu. He said if Obama survived the attack, that would prove he is the antichrist.

New college leaders up for approval

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will be asked to approve new leaders for Windward Community College and Honolulu Community College at a meeting tomorrow.

Michael Rota, interim chancellor at HCC, is being recommended as chancellor. He has been interim chancellor since July.

Rota was not one of the four finalists who participated in public forums for the position last month.

If approved, Rota will make $177,600 a year under a two-year appointment.

Douglas Dykstra, vice chancellor of academic affairs at Hawaii Community College, is being recommended to become the next chancellor at Windward.

Dykstra was one of three finalists for the position. If approved, he will make $145,008 a year for a two-year appointment.

UH-Hilo student wins research award

Kaycee “;Nahe”; Kawano, a Molokai High School graduate attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo, has received a summer scholar research award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

She will continue work on a project investigating ecological factors in drug use among native Hawaiian youth on the Big Island.

Dr. Scott Okamoto of Hawaii Pacific University and Dr. Susana Helm of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at UH-Manoa will supervise Kawano's research as co-principal investigators.

Keaau library closed for new roofing

Keaau Public and School Library on Hawaii island will close June 17 for two months to install a new roof and other health and safety improvements.

This means there will be no summer reading or passport application services. The book drop also will be closed.

However, other libraries in Mountain View and Hilo will be providing summer reading programs and other services.

Cell phone call facilitates hiker's rescue

A lost hunter was found atop a ridge near Kokee State Park on Kauai during the weekend, thanks to the enhanced 911 system.

The hunter, 71, of Wailua, called 911 on his cellular phone Saturday night and said he was lost.

Through the e911 system, police were able to immediately locate the caller on a map and report the latitude and longitude coordinates to firefighters, said Kauai County spokeswoman Mary Daubert in a news release.

Firefighters found the hunter at the end of Polihale Ridge Road at about midnight Saturday.

The e911 system was implemented on Kauai two years ago.

“;Thanks to the advancements made in technology with the e911 system, police dispatch and our firefighters were able to quickly respond to a person in distress,”; said Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman in a news release.