Newswatch

Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, January 27, 1999


Big Isle looks toward a new
kind of tourist, the outer
space fans

By Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin

KAILUA-KONA -- The Big Island's lava fields are so otherworldly that Apollo astronauts in the 1960s trained at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Now the time has come to market space-related tours of the island to the general public, says Steve Durst, president of Space Age Publishing Co. of Palo Alto, Calif.

The new Hawaii Space Tourism Advisory Board being created by Durst and others was to meet in Kona today.

Space tourism might seem more appropriate for places like Cape Canaveral, but Durst says the giant telescopes on Mauna Kea are an obvious link to space.

Several companies already lead tours there, but don't do it as part of a space package, he said.

At Kona's Keahole Airport, the museum featuring Hawaii astronaut Ellison Onizuka is another link, Durst says.

"Square inch for square inch, it's as good as anything in the world," he said.

Some links aren't so obvious, such as the fact that many astronauts love scuba diving because it's like operating in zero gravity.

The undersea link, "inner space," excites Doug McIlroy, operations manager for Atlantis Submarines Hawaii in Kona.

McIlroy also believes commercial suborbital flights are coming.

"I'm not buying into unsubstantiated enthusiasm," he said. "What I see is there will be space tourism, and I want in."

Tour leader Tom McAuliffe says he "didn't have a clue" about space tourism when Space Age Publishing people contacted him.

But he's already thinking about a "space race" on foot through lava fields. A bicycle race might offer a chance to "bike across the moon," he said.

Amateur astronomers already hold monthly "star parties" at the Onizuka visitor center on Mauna Kea, he said.



Dispute over police pay headed for arbitration

A contract impasse between the police union and the counties over pay has moved to arbitration.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers said the matter was submitted to arbitration yesterday.

Unresolved issues will be decided by a three-member panel, and prior to arbitration, the parties will submit their final offers, the union said, adding SHOPO will concentrate on cost-items of across-the-board pay raises, continued and expanded step levels in the pay scale, overtime and pay differentials.

The arbitration hearings are expected to begin in mid-March.

Kaneohe man charged with shooting his friend

The case of a 20-year-old man charged with shooting his friend has been sent to Circuit Court for trial.

District Judge Colette Garibaldi yesterday found there was sufficient probable cause that Chad Barboza of Kaneohe caused the death Patrick Fuller, 30, of Waimanalo.

Police said Barboza admitted to shooting someone he thought was threatening him.

"He gave the impression he fired the gun" because the man was coming and was armed, said homicide Detective Larry Tamashiro. Later, Barboza learned that he had shot his friend, police said. Barboza is charged with second-degree murder.

Tapa


CORRECTIONS

Melando Aguinaldo of Kalakaua Middle School was the eighth-grade winner for his artwork in the Kids Day "Lucky We Live Aloha" competition. His first name was misspelled in a special Hawaii Newspaper Agency section in yesterday's Star-Bulletin.

CLARIFICATION

Contrary to a reference in a editorial on Monday, First Hawaiian Bank is not bigger than Bank of Hawaii in asset size. It is First Hawaiian Bank's parent company, BancWest, that is bigger than Bank of Hawaii's parent, Pacific Century Financial Corp.


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Police, Fire

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

POLICE/FIRE

Family escapes unhurt
as fire destroys house

By Jaymes K. Song, Star-Bulletin

Tears filled 67-year-old Ok Yern Kimoto's eyes as she stared at her ravaged house yesterday morning.

She stood in the drizzling rain dressed in a nightgown and slippers, several feet from the house she spent most of her life in.

A fire swept through her home at 1450 Hala Drive at 11:51 p.m. Monday, destroying the house and everything inside.

However, her husband, 90-year-old mother-in-law, son and two dogs escaped safely.

"It went so fast," Kimoto said. "Within minutes, the thing was just going."

Flames shooting more than 20 feet in the air, aided by strong winds, consumed her home within minutes.

Kimoto said she was in bed when she awoke to popping noises in her living room. She saw the fire, which started near a fish tank.

She quickly alerted everyone in the house, but couldn't get into her mother-in-law's bedroom because it was locked. Kimoto's husband broke down the door and rescued his mother.

Kimoto maintained a positive outlook yesterday morning and spent the night at her next-door neighbor's home, which was also damaged from the flames.

"I figure we can rebuild a house, but a life you can't," she said. "I'm thankful no one got hurt."

Fire officials estimated damage at $200,000 to the structure and $60,000 to its contents. The cause is still under investigation.

The American Red Cross of Hawaii is assisting the Kimoto family.



Police seek public's help in
Maryknoll burglary

By Crystal Kua, Star-Bulletin

Police are seeking the public's help in tracking down burglars who stole $10,000 computer equipment from Maryknoll Elementary School last week.

The theft of the eight new Macintosh computers and two new Epson printers from the first- and second-grade classrooms occurred on the Martin Luther King holiday.

Vice Principal Carole Ota said the burglary has affected the students directly.

"Of course they're very upset and disappointed," Ota said. "They were looking forward to using it and now they have nothing."

School was closed Monday for the holiday.

The next day, officials found that two classrooms had been broken into.

Ota said that items such as a refrigerator, toothbrushes and an electronic chess game were also stolen.

The computers were obtained after the Maryknoll school board made a commitment to upgrade the school's technology, and school officials will see if they can replace the equipment with insurance money.

"The police and the neighbors have been wonderful. The neighbors have been keeping an eye out," Ota said.

Police said a white van was parked on campus between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the night of the holiday.

Maryknoll, which is a private school, is the latest school to be hit by burglars in recent weeks. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 955-8300.



Woman is arrested in deliberate auto crash

A 44-year-old woman was arrested on two counts of attempted murder yesterday after she allegedly slammed her vehicle into a car with her husband and his girlfriend inside.

The woman saw her husband, 48, and the woman, 36, inside his car at about 11:30 a.m., police said. The woman followed the couple until they were held at a traffic light at Middle Street and Kamehameha Highway in Kalihi, police said.

The woman rammed the rear of her husband's car, causing a chain reaction, damaging two cars in front of him, police said.

Three men charged in Ala Wai break-in

Police yesterday charged three men with breaking into an Ala Wai Boulevard apartment on Monday.

Jermaine Brown, 26, Mecca Gozi, 18 and Tommy Lolange, 21, were charged with first-degree burglary, police said.

Brown is being held on $50,000 bail, Gozi on $15,000 and Lolange on $25,000.

The men are accused of breaking into the apartment through the kitchen window while the resident was having a party at about 4 a.m., police said. The men allegedly threatened to kill the resident while attempting to pull him outside.

They were apprehended at 444 Hobron Lane about an hour later.

In other news...

Bullet A 36-year-old Waikiki man was arrested Monday for reportedly snatching a purse from a tourist from Japan.

The woman from Osaka, Japan, was walking on Olohana Street near Kuhio Avenue when the man came from behind and allegedly grabbed her purse at about 10:50 p.m., police said.

Witnesses chased the man and detained him until police arrived.

He was booked for second-degree theft and was released yesterday.

Bullet CrimeStoppers and Honolulu police are asking for the public's assistance in apprehending Michael Ray Brown of the Big Island.

Brown, also known as Karl Natsche, is a domestic violence offender who is in contempt of Family Court orders.

Brown, 38, is known to frequent Oahu and have firearms in his possession, according to CrimeStoppers.

He has a mustache and has dark brown shoulder-length hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 175 pounds.

He has the tattoo "SC" on his neck.

Call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 with any information about his whereabouts.

Bullet WAILUKU -- Maui police detectives are investigating the death of a 34-year-old inmate who was found in a jail cell at Maui Community Correctional Center.

He was found dead hanging from a bed sheet in his cell at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, said prison warden Albert Murashige.

Bullet CAPTAIN COOK, Hawaii -- The owner of forest and brush-covered land in South Kona caused a fire that burned half an acre along the Mamalahoa Highway yesterday, the Fire Department said.

The property owner left a cooking fire at his piggery unattended, they said.

Bullet HILO -- Police seized 6,044 marijuana plants in Puna and the North and South Hilo districts yesterday bringing the total for two days to 9,516, they said.


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