State and Region briefs for February 12

Hawaii bankruptcy filings skyrocketed 40 pct last month

HILO — The number of bankruptcy filings in the state increased by more than 40 percent to 149 cases last month, marking the highest level for January in seven years, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

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Last year’s 1,490 bankruptcy cases brought an end to the state’s seven-year streak of declining filings.

Of the filings last month, 103 were for Chapter 7, increasing from the 64 recorded the same period last year.

Bankruptcy filings increased on three islands from January last year. Filings on Oahu jumped to 107 from 81. The Big Island had 16, up from five, and Kauai had 11, up from three.

The number of cases is expected to continue rising for the next several years, said Blake Goodman, a Honolulu bankruptcy attorney. Based on the historical trend since 1990, statewide bankruptcy filings have largely followed an eight-year cycle, he said.

Man convicted for assaulting former Honolulu sportscaster

HONOLULU — A jury convicted a 59-year-old man on a lesser charge in the death of a former Honolulu sportscaster.

Mark Coleman was found guilty last week of second-degree assault against John Noland.

Coleman and Noland, 60, were acquaintances. They got into a fight in June in Honolulu, resulting in Noland falling back and hitting his head on the sidewalk, according to court documents.

Noland entered a coma and died six days later. Coleman, who is homeless, was charged with manslaughter.

Honolulu chief medical examiner Christopher Happy told the court that Noland died of blunt force injury to his head, coupled with heart disease and obesity. Noland also had cocaine in his system and a high blood alcohol level, he said.

Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Noland worked as a sports reporter for KHON-TV in the 1980s. He later hosted a sports show on KFVE and covered Hawaii Pacific University sports for another broadcaster. He also worked at multiple radio stations.

Endangered tree on Guam to be transplanted for firing range

HAGATNA, Guam — An endangered native tree on Guam will have to be transplanted to make way for a new military firing range.

The fadang used to be the most abundant tree on Guam. But the University of Guam says damage from the Asian cycad scale and caterpillars depleted the tree’s numbers.

Firing range construction will require clearing 89 acres of native limestone forest and 110 acres of disturbed limestone at Andersen Air Force Base.

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Work to clear the forest is not expected to start for several months. Roadwork already started.

The firing range will support U.S. Marines who are moving to Guam from Okinawa, Japan.

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