State briefs for March 20

Taxpayers take loss on failed Kauai dairy plan

HONOLULU — Some Hawaii taxpayers lost money following a private investment firm’s failed plan to establish a dairy on Kauai.

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Honolulu-based Ulupono received $875,000 in state tax credits under a 2008 law that created incentives for landowners to preserve prime farmland for agricultural use in perpetuity.

Ulupono, owned by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, qualified for the tax credit by investing in an agricultural operation on land it leased from another company that had its property preserved under Hawaii’s Important Agricultural Lands law.

Ulupono said in a written statement that it is disappointed that Hawaii Dairy Farms didn’t succeed but that the tax credit program provided an incentive to take on risk with the project it estimated would cost $17.5 million.

Ulupono scrapped the farm plan in January.

Woman pleads guilty to sneaking aboard international flight

CHICAGO — A woman who was dubbed a serial stowaway was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to sneaking past Chicago airport security last year, boarding a plane and flying to London without a ticket.

As part of her plea deal, Marilyn Hartman, 67, can’t go to Chicago’s O’Hare or Midway airports without a ticket. She entered the plea to a criminal trespassing charge but originally faced counts of felony theft, burglary and other charges.

The plea is the latest chapter in a story that played out during the past decade in Chicago, Hawaii, San Francisco, Florida and elsewhere. Hartman was nabbed in and near airports dozens of times and made it onto planes maybe a half-dozen times.

Authorities said she boarded the flight to London by walking past two British Airlines ticket agents who were checking other passengers. Hartman darted into a small room off to the side and walked quickly past customs and a Border Patrol agent who was looking at passports of people entering the ramp.

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Hartman was arrested after her London trip and free on bond in January 2018 when she was again discovered wandering at O’Hare. This time, a judge ordered her detained without bond and she was later found unfit for trial. Hartman spent time at a state mental institution and in July she was moved to a halfway-house style mental health center in Chicago called A Safe Haven.

The facility has agreed to help Hartman find permanent housing.

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