Newswatch

Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, January 28, 1999


Village Park residents skeptical
of EPA report on Kunia Well

By Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin

Some Village Park residents remain skeptical of the federal Environmental Protection Agency explanation that contaminants at Kunia Well did not reach their subdivision.

At Wahiawa Intermediate School last night, some residents said they thought contaminated soil might have been trucked to Village Park during construction or that contaminated water might have been trucked there and sprayed for dust control.

The EPA said last night that an investigation for contaminants in groundwater and soil in the vicinity of Del Monte's Kunia Village, where 495 gallons of the pesticide ethylene dibromide spilled in 1997, showed that these contaminants did not reach Village Park.

Drinking water wells serving Village Park pump water from a different aquifer, and what contaminants remain at and near the spill site didn't affect any other nearby wells, officials said.

Kunia wells were shut down in 1980, and drinking water for Kunia comes from a safe Navy well, EPA representatives said.

"The Navy well supplies drinking water for Kunia residents," and it is regularly monitored by the state, said Janet Rosati, EPA remedial project manager.

"Drinking water wells cannot be contaminated that serve Village Park," said EPA's David Seter.

"We felt that there was no public health effect (from the Kunia spill)," added Gwen Eng of the U.S. Public Health Service.

The issue is why so many children from the Waipahu subdivision showed up with birth defects and learning disabilities.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said again last night there is no known link between Kunia Village contaminants and what happened at Village Park.



Tour operator gets death threats
for eliminating incentives

By Gary T. Kubota, Star-Bulletin

WAILUKU -- Some booking agents for sightseeing tours and recreational activities on Maui say the fun and profit in their work is being cut short by many tour operators.

The conflict has flared into death threats to a tour official and a confrontation in which an agent called the police to force a supporter of a tour operator to leave a meeting.

Several helicopter and boat tour operators on the Valley Isle eliminated giving incentives to agents booking tours in early December.

Some agents have seen their annual salary reduced by thousands of dollars. The incentives included cash certificates and discount coupons at food stores.

"I've lost about $8,000 a year," said Timothy Brink, an agent with Activity Warehouse in Lahaina.

Brink said the income reduction has hurt, but he's not as affected by the elimination of incentives as many others because he sells activities in conjunction with time share sales.

Toni Davis, executive director of the Activity Owners Association, said she's received death threats on her facsimile machine after encouraging her group to eliminate the incentives.

She said her husband attended a meeting of the agents in Kihei last Thursday to find out if anyone there might have made the threats. The agents called the police, and her husband left the meeting, Davis said.

Davis said she received complaints from tour operators who called the incentives "commercial extortion."

"Agents were refusing to book unless they upped the ante and the ante was already uncomfortable," she said.



State: Ask to see contractor license

State officials are warning homeowners to watch out for unlicensed contractors offering to do roof coating work.

"Folks come here from the mainland during the rainy season, offering to put waterproof coating on roofs," said Sharon On Leng of the state Regulated Industries Complaints Office. "As far as we can tell, the coating doesn't improve the roof."

"These unlicensed contractors normally come in groups. It's a seasonal-type scam that's become a trend here in the '90s," she said.

Victims in the past have been elderly people living on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, she added.

All home repair jobs over $1,000 can only be done by a licensed contractor in that specialty, On Leng said. A building permit is also required for all jobs.

Anyone who has been contacted by unlicensed contractors offering to do repair jobs is asked to call RICO at 587-3222, ext. 1, on Oahu.

Neighbor island complaints can be reported by calling 974-4000 (Big Island), 274-3141 (Kauai), or 984-2400 (Maui). The extension for all neighbor island numbers is 73222.

AUW drive missed goal by $1.6 million in '98

The Aloha United Way campaign fell $1.6 million short of its goal last year and collected less than in 1997.

Oahu contributors gave or pledged $13.4 million in the annual drive to support more than 65 service and charitable agencies. That was 89 percent of the $15 million goal.

Campaign Chairman John Reed said, "Even knowing the economy was in the doldrums, we set an aggressive goal to challenge ourselves."

He said that the number reported at a meeting yesterday is not final, and noted that efforts are ongoing to collect more.

Reed, chairman of Pacific Retail Development, said some of the company teams that met or exceeded their individual goals were themselves affected by the sagging economy, with fewer employees or lower revenues.

The campaign also announced that about $4 million was raised in the Combined Federal Campaign.

Council favors a limit on X-rated stores

City Council members want the administration to consider a bill that would limit adult entertainment stores.

By a vote of 9-0 yesterday, the Council approved a resolution asking the administration to look at the bill, which would restrict the number of adult establishments in most areas of the island.

Under the proposal, adult establishments would be prohibited from being located within 500 feet of homes, churches, schools, child care facilities and each other, except in industrial zones.

Rachalle Sebela, among several people testifying for the resolution, called for the limit to be stretched to 1,000 feet.

Council members said, however, that the constitutionality of the bill might be challenged if not enough space on the island was made available for such establishments to exist.

Pro-Family Hawaii challenges state law

A group backing the ballot issue allowing lawmakers to prohibit same-sex marriages is challenging the state law requiring disclosure of its donors' names.

Pro-Family Hawaii has declined to comply with the state Campaign Spending Commission requirement.

"There is no compelling state interest which would support disclosure of a donor's name, address, occupation and employer in a campaign involving a ballot issue," the group said in a motion filed Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order against the regulation.

Robert Watada, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, disagrees.

"Our law says that you have to disclose the names of the people who give you money," he said.

The law applies to a political committee or ballot issue committee, Watada said.

"I think basically the purpose of that is so the public will know who is behind contributions that are given to a committee -- otherwise, how would we know some foreign entity is giving money to a committee or not -- and trying to influence elections in Hawaii," Watada said.

Some on Council object to nature park's cost

The City Council has sent to committee a bill that includes a provision to spend $5 million on Aina Haina land for a nature park.

There were objections that the $5 million figure is excessive.

Councilman John Henry Felix, Budget Committee chairman, said the administration will be asked about the money sought by Mayor Jeremy Harris to purchase the 94.7 acres on property that once was to become a cemetery.

Councilman Jon Yoshimura made a motion for a floor amendment to eliminate it from the bill, but the motion failed.

Tapa


CLARIFICATION

Tours for the USS Missouri will begin and end at the Bowfin Museum on Kamehameha Highway, since access to Ford Island is restricted by the Navy. Free parking is available at the Bowfin Museum. Overflow parking at $3 a car will be available at the Aloha Stadium this weekend. Shuttles will take visitors to the battleship's ticket office.


See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.




Police, Fire

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

POLICE/FIRE

Waianae man stabbed in his face and neck

A 53-year-old Waianae man is in serious condition this morning after being stabbed in the face and neck.

The man was stabbed in his apartment on the 87-000 block of Farrington Highway at about 3:36 a.m., police said. He had cuts and puncture wounds to the neck and left side of his face.

An acquaintence of the stabbing victim, a 25-year-old Waianae man, was located on Ehu Street in Maili shortly after and was arrested in connection with the stabbing.

He was booked for attempted murder.

Police are still investigating a motive.

Visitor from Minnesota robbed by two men

Police are searching for two men who robbed a man from Minnesota yesterday.

The visitor met the suspects at Club Fusion on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, police said. After the club closed, the suspects invited the man to a party.

The suspects drove the man to Tantalus Drive, where he was robbed inside the car at about 3:30 a.m., police said.

The suspects then refused to let the man leave, so the man jumped out of the moving vehicle and escaped.

Speed, alcohol involved in motorcyclist's death

Police traffic investigators believe speed and alcohol are factors in a motorcycle crash that critically injured a 23-year-old man today.

The man was speeding west on the H-1 Freeway when he lost control on the Pali Highway offramp at 1:15 a.m., police said.

Investigators said the driver was unable to handle the curve in the roadway with his 1997 Kawasaki ZX-750 motorcycle and slammed into a guardrail.

The man, who suffered internal and leg injuries, was then thrown underneath the overpass.

He was transported to Queen's Hospital.

In other news...

Bullet KAHULUI -- The Kahului branch of Central Pacific Bank was robbed yesterday by a Caucasian who presented a demand note to a teller. The robbery at 85 W. Kaahumanu Ave. was reported at 11 a.m. The suspect, who stands about 5 feet 2, fled with a undisclosed amount of cash.

Bullet HILO -- An unattended candle in Mauna Loa Estates southwest of Hilo caused $5,000 damage yesterday, the Fire Department said.

Bullet HILO -- Police are warning Big Island residents about a scam in which a woman received a letter from the "Millionaire Lottery Club" of Florida saying she had won $36,631 but would have to send the club $5,939 to receive it.

Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to send money, police said. Anyone receiving such a letter should notify police at 935-3311.


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See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.




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