By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, May 7, 1999

Events shed light
on mental health

Activities in May will focus on Hawaii's most common health problem -- mental illness.

More than 200,000 residents -- one in five -- suffer from anxiety or phobia disorders, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and alcohol or drug abuse, says Debbie Rivers, president of the Mental Health Association in Hawaii.

She said children and adults with mental illnesses respond to treatment with recovery rates as high or higher than many other serious disease.

"Yet, despite the prevalence and treatability of these disorders, many people will not receive appropriate treatment because the mental health coverage in their health insurance policies is not nearly as comprehensive as that for physical illnesses," she said. "Health insurance limits put all of us and our families at financial risk because out-of-pocket expenses for a serious mental illness cost tens of thousands of dollars a year."

"Equal Mental Health Insurance for Hawaii" is the slogan of Mental Health Month in Hawaii, proclaimed by Gov. Ben Cayetano, Mayor Jeremy Harris, the state Legislature and City Council.

"It is time to end the rampant discrimination against the thousands of children and adults with mental illnesses in Hawaii," said Rivers. Equal health insurance coverage for mental illnesses is an issue "that deserves the immediate attention of business leaders, legislators and policy-makers," she said.

The association will sponsor information booths throughout May as follows: Saturday, Pearlridge Center; May 15, Windward Mall; May 22, YWCA Downtown; May 29, Kahala Mall.

Free screenings for anxiety and depression will be conducted at the YWCA downtown on May 22 and at the Mental Health Association office June 1. Call 521-1846 for screening times and directions.

Volunteers at all locations will be handing out green ribbons. Residents are encouraged to wear them throughout the year.


Six Maui residents indicted
on drug conspiracy charge

Six Maui residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to possess 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 20 pounds of cocaine for distribution.

The indictment yesterday also seeks forfeiture of $233,740 in cash seized by the FBI when the six were arrested. Indicted were Michael Andrade, 25; Keith Cummings, 33; Fred Chang Jr., 31; Kealii Kamai, 24; Clarence Kamai, 26; and Momoe Taape, 25.

The defendants were arrested after they met with undercover police officers Wednesday at a Honolulu hotel, the U.S. attorney's office said.

If convicted of conspiracy, defendants face a mandatory minimum 10-year prison term, and may receive sentences of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million.


Parents find dead baby in closet of daughter

Police are investigating the death of a newborn baby boy, whose body was found decomposing inside the closet of his 14-year-old mother.

The mother's parents discovered the dead infant Wednesday night wrapped in a towel, put inside a plastic bag and placed in a box at their Kaneohe Bay Drive home, police said.

The parents, who did not know their daughter was pregnant, reported that the baby was still-born, according to a detective's report. The baby was born at the home about two weeks prior to being found, police said.

However, whether the infant was still-born or was born alive has not been determined.

Tissue samples have to be taken and other tests conducted before determining the cause of death, an investigator from the medical examiner's office said today.

Results could take as long as two months.

The case has been classified as an unattended death, meaning no foul play is suspected, police said.

Kilauea's east rift resumes spewing lava

HILO -- The eruption on Kilauea's east rift resumed yesterday after a brief pause since Tuesday, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said.

Small lava flows were seen in upland areas yesterday, said park Ranger Jay Robinson.

Honolulu-bound ramp, Makakilo, to be closed

Makakilo Interchange on-ramp shuts down Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The Honolulu-bound on-ramp from Makakilo Drive onto H-1 freeway will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. those days to replace existing guardrails.

Motorists are advised by the state Department of Transportation to enter the freeway at Palailai Interchange ("Campbell Industrial Park") and to allow extra travel time.



Bullet Michael Moore, of Kona, was charged Wednesday with attempted first-degree assault and second-degree assault, as well as other charges, police said. A police brief yesterday misstated the charges.

Bullet The Hawaii Medical Service Association had operating revenues of $1.15 billion in 1997. An incorrect figure appeared in a Hawaii Inc. story yesterday. Also, HMSA had net income of $10 million in 1998. The headline incorrectly stated the net was up $10 million.

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Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff

Waialua High bombings traced to two students

Police yesterday arrested two 15-year-old students in connection with the homemade bomb that exploded Wednesday inside a locker at Waialua High School.

An investigation led police to the two Waialua boys. The boys were arrested for first-degree criminal property damage yesterday at 1 p.m. and later released to their parents, police said. No injuries were reported in the blast.

In an unrelated incident, a 15-year-old Kawananakoa Intermediate School boy was arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up the school yesterday.

Sprinklers limit fire but douse two floors besides

A sprinkler system limited a fire in a third-floor apartment in Chinatown Gateway Plaza to a bedroom yesterday.

The cause remained under investigation. Damage was set at $5,000 to the structure at 1031 Nuuanu Ave., $5,000 to contents.

Water damage from the sprinkler affected the entire third-floor and second-floor, which houses the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Section.

Hit-and-run results in Maui's fifth traffic death

WAILUKU -- Maui police detectives are searching for the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash that killed a moped driver in west Maui yesterday morning.

Robert French Jr., 25, of Lahaina, was taken to Maui Memorial Hospital, where he died.

The moped was traveling north on Honoapiilani Highway between Kekaa Drive and Puukolii Road when it was struck by a large white sedan, police traffic investigator Leighton Kanaele said.

Kanaele said French was not wearing a helmet and suffered head injuries. His death brings to five the number of traffic fatalities on Maui this year, compared with eight at this time last year.

Star-Bulletin staff

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