State roundup for March 19
Budget cuts at Pearl Harbor
PEARL HARBOR, Oahu (AP) — Navy officials say troops stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam are starting to see changes in base services and facilities as a result of automatic federal budget cuts.
The Navy said in a release that starting Monday, hours were changing at gyms, libraries and arts centers, while cable television was canceled in common areas like lounges and offices.
Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, says the cuts are tough choices. But he says the Navy is still committed to supporting troops and their families.
The Navy says it is also implementing changes because of the budget cuts at Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai.
Funding sought for watershed
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii House Committee on Water and Land has approved a bill to fund natural resource protection and increase the conveyance tax for high-end properties.
Some of the conveyance tax revenue is already being used to fund environmental protection, which includes protecting watersheds, and affordable housing.
In response to testimony, the committee voted to dedicate more of the revenue to those causes as well as increase the tax for properties worth more than $2 million.
Several environmental groups say that the bill could help preserve Hawaii’s water supply.
Opponents of the bill, including the Chamber of Commerce, say the proposal will discourage real estate business in Hawaii.
The House Committee on Finance will hear the bill next and is likely to determine the specific amounts the tax would increase.
4th-floor leap into pool fails
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu police say a young man was critically injured after trying to jump from an apartment building into a swimming pool at University of Hawaii off-campus housing.
The man tried to jump into the pool from a fourth floor apartment building just after 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Police say the man missed the pool at the Kalo Terrace student suites near the University of Hawaii Manoa, and landed instead on the pool deck.
The man, who is in his 20s, was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
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