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Tesoro to close Hawaii refinery

HONOLULU — Tesoro Corp. plans to close an oil refinery in Hawaii in April, converting the facility to a distribution and storage terminal while hoping for a buyer, company officials said Tuesday.

The San Antonio-based oil company said it will maintain the distribution system at the Kapolei facility in west Oahu to fulfill its supply commitments.

It’s not clear exactly how many jobs will be lost when the facility stops its refining operations. Tesoro said it expects to save $300 million to $350 million in 2013 from the shutdown because of reduced working capital needs.

News of the shutdown drew responses from Hawaii lawmakers, who pledged to help minimize fallout from the ending of an operation that refined up to 94,000 barrels of oil per day to make fuel for jets, boats, cars and power use.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said Tesoro has assured her office that the closure won’t disrupt Hawaii’s gasoline supply.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state has offered to work with Tesoro to smoothen the transition.

Both said the closure shows Hawaii needs to be more energy independent.

“We currently send billions of dollars a year outside of our islands to meet our energy needs,” Abercrombie said. “This administration is seeking long term infrastructure investments that ensure our electric grids are stable, reliable and modern enough to integrate all available alternative and renewable energy technologies.”

Shares of Tesoro Corp. rose $1.18, or 2.9 percent, in afterhours trading Tuesday after closing the day at $40.22.

Jury selection begins in Kauai murder trial

LIHUE, Kauai — Jury selection has begun in the Kauai trial of a man charged with murder.

According to the Garden Island, 150 prospective jurors will go through the screening process before a 12-member jury and four alternates are selected in the trial of Vicente Kote Kapika Hilario.

Hilario is charged with murder in the death of 34-year-old Aureo Moore at Anahola Beach Park on Dec. 17, 2010. He has pleaded not guilty and also faces charges of retaliating and intimidating a witness.

Prosecutors allege that Hilario killed Moore to keep him from testifying against him and two others in connection to a robbery.

The trial in Fifth Circuit Court is expected to last four to six weeks.

$20K in electronics stolen from Kauai school

KAPAA, Kauai — Kauai police are investigating the theft of $20,000 worth of cameras and computers from Kapaa Elementary School during the winter break.

Police said Monday 12 white MacBook laptop computers and 20 black Kindle tablets are missing from one of the classrooms. Several video and digital cameras and an InFocus projector were also stolen.

The classroom didn’t show any sign of forced entry. But police say but the metal cabinets where the items were being stored appear to have been pried open.

The electronics were stolen sometime between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3.

Assistant Chief Roy Asher says the suspects will likely try to sell the electronics on the street or the Internet. He asks anyone with information on the case to contact Kauai police.

Device maker says Honolulu fourth-most congested

HONOLULU — A company that makes a vehicle navigation device says when it comes to traffic Honolulu is the fourth-most congested city in North America.

Navigation device-maker TomTom compared travel times during congested periods, to times of day when traffic is flowing freely to come up with an index of 57 metropolitan areas. The index was compiled from information obtained between July and September of last year.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says TomTom found that Los Angeles and Vancouver, Canada, were tied for most congested, followed by San Francisco, Honolulu and Seattle.