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Man sentenced for sexually assaulting child

WAILUKU, Maui — A judge has sentenced a Maui man to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a girl over a five-year period.

The Maui News says 38-year-old Eddie Garcia of Kihei pleaded no contest last week to the continuous sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. The abuse occurred between February 2005 and February 2010, as well as on Aug. 19, 2010.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen described Garcia as an “egotistical manipulator” and the worst he’s encountered in more than 25 years in the court system.

Before his sentencing, Garcia tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his no-contest pleas in the case.

His attorney, Chris Dunn, says Garcia plans to appeal.

Judge dismisses bankruptcy protection case

WAILUKU, Maui — A federal bankruptcy judge has dismissed a petition from a couple who have a Maui mortgage brokerage firm to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Kathleen Patricia Morris and David Duffy Herman may owe up to $10 million to creditors. They were seeking bankruptcy protection to reorganize their business, Kihei-based Hawaii’s Premiere Mortgage Co.

Maui bankruptcy and immigration attorney Richard Berman told the Maui News that the judge’s ruling on Tuesday clears the way for creditors to take legal action to obtain their money.

The couple said in a statement to the Maui News that they intend to repay as many people as they can. The couple’s debts include unpaid mortgages and loans against more than two dozen properties in Hawaii and Idaho.

Abercrombie wants to increase minimum wage

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75.

During the State of the State address on Tuesday, the Democrat said he hopes the $1.50 increase will go into effect next year.

“If you take off the ideological blinders you’ll see that raising the minimum wage is an advantageous step in increasing retail activity and pumping dollars back into the economy,” he said in a news conference after the address.

The governor said Hawaii hasn’t increased its minimum wage in six years and there are 19 states with higher minimum wages than Hawaii. Also, the state’s wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living, he said.

House Speaker Joseph Souki agreed, saying that raising the rate by a dollar —to $8.25 an hour — wouldn’t be enough to cover the high cost of rent in Hawaii.

Any minimum wage proposal should consider the impact on small businesses, Senate President Donna Kim said. The last thing the Legislature wants to do is cause greater unemployment by increasing labor costs, she said.

“We have to find balance,” she said. “How much more can the businesses afford?”

Time capsule found at old Wailuku Post Office

WAILUKU, Maui — A time capsule dating back to 1959 has been found at the old Wailuku Post Office and Federal Building.

KITV-TV says demolition crews discovered the time capsule on Tuesday morning while removing the building’s cornerstone. Workers at the time were trying to preserve the cornerstone which says “United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, 1959.”

The time capsule was in a rectangular metal box. Inside was a letter from the general contractor who built the building, a book of blueprints of the building itself and a copy of the Maui News with the story of the new Post Office building on the front page, dated September 19, 1959.

Workers began tearing down the building on Jan. 7 as part of the county’s Campus Master Plan for Wailuku.