State roundup for April 5
Slom proposes smaller budget
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s lone Republican in the State Senate has proposed a smaller state budget than what his Democratic counterparts approved to make the argument the state is headed for fiscal disaster if it doesn’t change course.
Sen. Sam Slom proposed a budget Friday calling for $795 million less than the $12 billion budget the state Senate passed Monday.
Slom’s proposal calls for $207 million in cuts to the Department of Education, Department of Health and University of Hawaii. The health department would get less money for mental health programs. Education cuts would be made to administrative positions. Another $110 million would come from removing vacant positions.
Slom says he knows his proposal is not likely to get any traction. But he wants to inform people about financial problems down the road.
Bomb threat at federal building
HONOLULU (AP) — A bomb threat near downtown Honolulu required the evacuation of the federal building and a state courthouse.
State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz says a phone call was made to 911 at about 5:45 a.m. Friday reporting a bomb threat.
Schwartz says sheriff’s deputies searched the Circuit Court building and found nothing suspicious.
Local and federal authorities determined there was also no threat at the federal building across the street.
Schwartz says the all-clear was given just before 7:30 a.m. and people were allowed back into both buildings.
The evacuation closed Rainbow School, a childcare and preschool facility in the federal building. School officials notified parents the center would be closed for the day.
Coqui frogs found on Oahu
HONOLULU (AP) — The state Department of Agriculture says it captured three coqui frogs on Oahu.
One frog was found on a boat at a Kahaluu home and the others were found at nurseries in Kaimuki and Kunia.
Neighbors reported to state officials this week that they heard the frogs’ distinct mating call.
Curbing the spread of the noisy frogs is important to Hawaii, where they can reproduce quickly because they don’t have natural predators here. The frogs are already well established on the Big Island.
Agriculture officials suspect that the frogs found at the nurseries hitchhiked from the Big Island on plants. They believe the Kahaluu one arrived on the boat when it was shipped on a barge from the Big Island.
The coqui is native to Puerto Rico.
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