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State / In Brief

January 6, 2013
The Associated Press

Earthquake rattled Big Island early Saturday

HONOLULU - An earthquake rattled Hawaii island early Saturday, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that a 4.4-magnitude quake hit at 4:37 a.m. beneath Kilauea's volcano's south flank - or about seven miles west of Kalapana.

The USGS said that the earthquake was widely felt on the island and generated more than 200 responses on its website.

Scientists said that the quake did not have any apparent effect on Kilauea's ongoing eruption.


Hanabusa, Gabbard get committee assignments

HONOLULU - Hawaii's U.S. House members have their committee assignments for the new Congress.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will continue to serve on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees, while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii National Guard member who served in Iraq, will serve on the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees.


Ex-officer sentenced to 8 months in pot case

HONOLULU - A former Honolulu police officer who pleaded guilty to helping his girlfriend sell and grow marijuana has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Michael Steven Chu asked his family to forgive him in court Friday and said he hopes to become someone they can be proud off. Chu also said he will never commit such a crime again and is dedicating his life to helping others.

The judge gave Chu until Feb. 13 to turn himself in. Chu's girlfriend, Athena Sui Lee, will be sentenced next month.


Feds approve state-based Hawaii health exchange

WASHINGTON - The federal government has given Hawaii conditional approval for running its own state-based health exchange.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that Hawaii had made significant progress toward setting up its own exchange and can go forward under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal agency said that to date 20 states and the District of Columbia have been conditionally approved to partially or fully run their own health exchanges. Hawaii, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah, joined that list Thursday.

Under the health care law, the federal government can step in and establish exchanges in states where none exist.



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