2000 to 2009


POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2009


Feb. 23: In the legal case Rice v Cayetano, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 that Hawaiians-only voting in elections for OHA trustees violates the Fifteenth Amendment's ban on race-based voting restrictions. The court ruling is the result of a lawsuit against the state by Hawaii Island rancher Harold “;Freddy”; Rice, a fifth-generation kamaaina who was barred from voting in an OHA election.

July 20: U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka introduces the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka Bill, to provide federal recognition to native Hawaiians and protect federal funding of Hawaiian entitlements that are jeopardized by the recent U.S. Supreme Court in the Rice v Cayetano.



Feb. 9: The USS Greeneville, a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine, is making a rapid-ascent surfacing about 10 miles south of Diamond Head, when it collides with the Ehime Maru, a fishing boat on a training expedition with students from Japan's Uwajima Fisheries High School aboard. The trawler sinks, killing nine of Ehime Maru's crew members. In 2003, the Navy pays $13 million to the families of the victims.

March 15: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin publishes its first edition under the ownership of Canadian publisher David Black. Black bought the paper after the state and a grass-roots organization called Save Our Star-Bulletin filed lawsuits challenging plans by previous owner Liberty Newspapers LP to shut down the paper 1999.

June 19: Federated Department Stores Inc. announces it will buy 151-year-old Hawaii retailer Liberty House and later converts the stores' name to Macy's. Liberty House lost sales from the weakening of Asian tourism to Hawaii in the late 1990s and declared bankruptcy in 1999.

Sept. 11: The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon shut the nation's airports—Hawaii's economic lifeline —for two days. The state's monthly visitor count plummets 34 percent in September and 30 percent in October. News of layoffs, consolidation and cutbacks dominate local headlines.



Jan. 2: The state begins issuing tickets to speeding motorists caught by cameras in white vans parked along major roadways on Oahu. After a public backlash, Gov. Ben Cayetano puts the unpopular program on hold, and by April it is gone altogether.

May 30: Dogged by questions about city contracts, Mayor Jeremy Harris, considered the front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, drops out of the race.

Sept. 28: In the middle of the fall election season, U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink dies, leaving a legacy of unabashed liberalism and a political free-for-all for her office. The longtime Democrat is remembered for many accomplishments in her fight for civil rights for women and minorities, including co-authoring 1972's Title IX of the Education Act, which mandated gender equality in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Nov. 6: After losing the 1998 governor's race to then-Gov. Ben Cayetano by about 5,000 votes, Linda Lingle comes back with a war chest of nearly $5 million and beats Mazie Hirono by more than 17,000 votes. Lingle is the first Republican governor of Hawaii in 40 years.



Aug. 23: Teamsters strike against Oahu Transit Services Inc., the private company that runs TheBus system for the city. The strike inconveniences tens of thousands of bus riders and alters rush-hour commutes for hundreds of thousands of residents.

Nov. 6: Officials of the Tropic Lightning Division at Schofield Barracks announce that 4,500 soldiers will deploy in February for Iraq, and another 3,500 soldiers are expected to leave in April for Afghanistan.



June 15: University of Hawaii regents fire President Evan Dobelle “;for cause”; after a 12-hour meeting. The highly controversial decision tarnishes the university, the board of regents and Dobelle.

Aug. 18: Island icon Hiram Fong, who became the first elected Asian-American U.S. senator in 1959, dies at the age of 97.

Oct. 30 Manoa Stream, bulging with rainwater, floods 190 homes and businesses, an elementary school and several building on the University of Hawaii campus.

Nov. 2 : Mufi Hannemann wins the mayor's race over Duke Bainum by a margin of about 1,300 votes, becoming Honolulu's first mayor of Samoan ancestry. Despite her popularity, Gov. Linda Lingle can not translate her charisma into victories for the GOP; Republican incumbents lose six seats in the Legislature.

Dec. 30: Aloha Airlines joins its interisland competitor, Hawaiian Airlines, and numerous mainland airlines in filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.



Jan. 25: A total of 26 Marines from Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay and one Navy Corpsman based at Pearl Harbor are killed in a chopper crash in Iraq.

Aug. 2: A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules 2-1 that Kamehameha Schools Hawaiians-only admission policy is “;unlawful race discrimination.”; Kamehameha says it will petition for a rehearing.

Aug. 28: Ewa Beach wins the national Little League title. For a 10-day stretch in August, these youngsters capture the hearts and minds of local baseball and non-baseball fans alike.

Dec. 31: Hawaii's visitor industry brings in a benchmark 7 million visitors.



March 14: The Ka Loko dam on Kauai breaks. The force of the flowing waters destroys 10 homes, damages dozens of others and kills 7 people. Land owner and retired auto dealer James Pflueger is accused of altering the earthen dam that led to the breach. He is indicted for manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

March 24: Fearing sewage will backup into hotels and homes from a sewer main break in Waikiki, city officials divert the untreated sewage into the Ala Wai Canal. News of the 48-million gallon spill and Waikiki's closed beaches begins spinning across the globe. One man dies of infection after coming in contact with Ala Wai waters, and many residents took months before returning to the shoreline.

May 5: Gov. Linda Lingle signs a bill that suspends the state's gas cap law, ending an 8-month experiment in price control. Critics said the cap wasn't working, while supporters said it was being killed before it had a chance to work.

Sept. 6: An Army truck carrying a huge excavator slams into an H-1 pedestrian overpass, shutting down all six westbound lanes for about 13 hours

Oct. 15: A pair of early-morning earthquakes off the Big Island rock the Hawaiian chain. A magnitude 6.7 quake is followed by a 6.0 quake. The shaking damages roads, bridges, port facilities, churches, hotels and homes—and rattled people's nerves. On Oahu, nearly the entire island lost power for hours. No one is killed, but damages are expected to top $100 million.

Dec. 22: The City Council approves a 28-mile mass transit system. At an estimated cost of nearly $5 billion, it's the largest public works project ever approved in the state.



April 14: : Legendary Hawaii entertainer Don Ho dies of heart failure at age 76. Ho, who drifted into music after being an Air Force pilot, became the voice of a modern, jazz-influenced Hawaiian culture, equally welcomed in melting-pot cultures.

Aug. 23: Hawaii Supreme Court rules that environmental laws require the state to review the impact of interisland Superferry operations on the environment. The ruling overturns 2005 decision by Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza. The legal wrangling delays the start up, but the ferry gets under way in December.

Sept. 15: “;Lion King”; opens in Honolulu. The show elbows the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra out of its home at the Blaisdell Concert Hall for more than three months, and becomes the most talked-about, must-see show of the season.



Feb. 25: Aunty Genoa Keawe, a major figure in the history of modern Hawaiian music and an inspiration for several generations of Hawaiian entertainers, dies at age 89.

March 24: Citing ongoing losses, Molokai Ranch announces it will close down operations and lay off more than 120 workers.

March 30: Aloha Airlines abruptly announces it is shutting down passenger service. The 61-year-old carrier, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just 10 days earlier—its second such filing in a little more than three years—said it ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for its passenger business.

July 3: Pope Benedict XVI approves the documents for Father Damien to be canonized in a ceremony in mid-October.



Jan. 20: In the biggest presidential inauguration on record, hundreds of thousands of citizens witness the swearing in of Hawaii-born Barack Obama as president of the United States. The Punahou graduate is the nation's first African-American president.

March 16: After a long legal battle and public debate that pitted island against island, the Hawaii Supreme Court rules that a state law allowing the Superferry to operate while an EIS was conducted is unconstitutional. The Superferry halts service the next day. The company soon declares bankruptcy, ending the possibility the ferry will return to the islands.

Aug.4: With the state budget buffeted by the recession, Gov. Lingle Lingle suggests furloughing state workers a few days a month to make up a $786 million budget shortfall. Talks with public worker unions falter, and Lingle announces that pink slips are being prepared for 1,100 state employees.