Judge denies motion to dismiss pot case
HONOLULU - A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss felony charges against the Rev. Roger Christie, an advocate for the religious use of marijuana.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the dismissal Friday.
Christie was arrested in 2010 on three counts of conspiracy and growing and possessing 284 marijuana plants.
He's been in federal prison since then and has been denied bail.
The Big Island resident is founder of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which preaches that cannabis is a sacrament.
The Hawaii Senate is considering resolutions urging the court to let Christie free until his trial.
Sen. Russell Ruderman from the Big Island has said it is absurd that Christie has been held for so long.
He has described the minister as "possibly the most peaceful person I've ever known."
11-year-old arrested in school assaults
HONOLULU - An 11-year-old boy is under arrest, accused of assaulting three adults at a Makalapa school.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the boy allegedly assaulted a teacher, an educational specialist and a vice principal.
Police arrested the boy Wednesday on suspicion of assault.
The case is being investigated.
Construction in state picks up - report
HONOLULU - University of Hawaii economists say the state's construction industry is picking up again after ending a 5-year slump in 2012.
The university's Economic Research Organization said in a report released Friday that the industry will likely see expansion over the next several years thanks to a boom in solar installations, plus upgrades in the retail and visitors industries, home construction and Honolulu's rail project.
The analysis says besides the rail project slated to cost more than $5 billion, publicly financed construction will be only a modest contributor to growth over several years.
University officials say automatic federal budget cuts enacted in Washington pose some risk to their predictions. But the analysis says direct effects on local construction seem to be limited.
State Senate panel backs open data bill
HONOLULU - Hawaii senators are moving forward a bill to require the state to post more information online.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the bill Thursday with amendments.
The bill would require state departments to make reasonable efforts to make sure all data sets are available online.
The state won't be liable for incomplete or inaccurate data. But the bill would require departments to conduct quarterly progress reports to ensure that progress is being made.
Hawaii rates third worst in the nation for providing online access to government spending data, according to a report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund released earlier this week.
The report says Hawaii's websites are limited, hard to use and are missing important information on government spending.
Visitor dies after being pulled from water
HONOLULU - Police say a 72-year-old snorkeler died after she was pulled from the waters at Hanauma Bay.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said a relative found the woman, who had been snorkeling 15 to 20 yards offshore.
Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said the relative brought the woman to shore and alerted lifeguards Wednesday afternoon.
Lifeguards began cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived on the scene.
Paramedics continued CPR and took the woman to a hospital.
According to authorities, the woman's death might have been due to cardiac arrest.
The woman had been visiting from Korea.