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Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, June 24, 1999


Discovery Zone at Waikele
closes without warning

Associated Press

Employees and the young patrons of the Discovery Zone FunCenter at Waikele Center made a grim discovery yesterday morning.

The children's activity center had closed its doors for good in conjunction with a bankruptcy filing by the Florida-headquartered company.

D-Z, as it was called, employed 42 part-time workers.

Nearby stores feared the closure will cost them business.

Stephanie Kanoa, the manager of Carter's For Kids, said her clothing store sold a lot of socks, because they were required footwear at the Discovery Zone.

Waikele general manager Jennifer Bradley said the center won't have trouble finding a business to replace D-Z, because there is a waiting list of prospective tenants.

Posted Thursday, June 24, 1999, 10:30 p.m.

Tapa

Hawaii 2000

'Paulet Incident'

IN an age of worldwide imperialism in the mid-1800s, Hawaii came close to becoming a British possession with "The Paulet Incident."

On Feb. 10, 1843, Lord George Paulet, commander of the British warship Carysfort, sailed into Honolulu Harbor demanding that Hawaii accede to British land claims. King Kamehameha III, believing Paulet was determined to annex Hawaii under Britain, ceded the islands 15 days later to avoid bloodshed -- but stipulated that the Hawaiian kingdom would pursue diplomatic avenues to regain sovereignty.

Gerrit Judd, Hawaii's foreign affairs minister, worked secretly at night in the Royal Mausoleum to pen a letter of appeal to London.

But before word came in September that the British government had disavowed the seizure, British Rear Adm. Richard Thomas arrived in July. He declared that Paulet's actions were outside British policy and immediately restored the monarchy.


Y2K bug won't eat state payroll

By Christine Donnelly, Star-Bulletin

State employees can rest assured the dreaded Y2K bug won't somehow devour their first paychecks of the Year 2000: The state plans to process its payroll early to avoid that scenario, an administrator said.

Employees won't be able to withdraw the money until the official payday of Jan. 5, but "they should feel comfortable knowing that all the (computer) processing, including direct deposits, will actually be done before the end of the year," said Lester M. Nakamura, administrator of the Information and Communication Services Division of the state Department of Accounting and General Services.

"We only have to move it up a little bit," he said, adding that the department is already coordinating the move with financial institutions.

He announced the plan, which affects about 40,000 workers, at a Year 2000 seminar last night for members of the University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union, many of whom are state employees.

Nakamura said all Y2K-related problems in the state's payroll processing system should be fixed by the end of this month and the early processing of the first Year 2000 checks is just added insurance. The root of the so-called "Y2K bug" is that some older computer hardware, software and microprocessors may be unable to decipher information dated 2000, causing computer malfunctions or crashes.

The state of Hawaii budgeted $23 million to fix the problem. Of 881 Y2K projects in 22 state departments, 607 were done by the end of April and the rest should be done by Sept. 30, he said.


Copter crash's Marines now back with units

Seven Kaneohe Marines, injured yesterday when the CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter they were riding in made a hard landing at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island, have been released from Hilo Hospital and returned to their units.

The Marines are members of B Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines.

The cause of yesterday morning's crash is under investigation.

The helicopter was transporting 17 Marines and four crew members when it crashed.

Work date moved up for Pali traffic signal

The state Department of Transportation has moved up the installation date of traffic lights near a crosswalk where a 90-year-old woman died June 13, Sen. Rod Tam announced today.

The signals at Jack Lane and Akamu Place may be in place by the fall of next year rather than the originally scheduled completion date of May 2001.

Tam said the state will use the Army Corps of Engineers for the design phase of the project, which should allow the project to be completed six months sooner.

Tam said the June 13 traffic death has heightened the community's concern for safety and the need of an additional light.

We brake for helicopters


By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Guess who has the right of way at this intersection. A helicopter was
being towed across this roadway yesterday at the Marine
Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.



Stretch of Kaneohe Bay contaminated by PCBs

Residents are warned not to eat fish or shellfish from waters along a stretch of Kaneohe Bay near Yacht Club Street.

Signs posted by the state Department of Health also warn that swimming could be a health risk in that part of the bay.

Testing of sediments in a Kaneohe Bay inlet showed low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the DOH said.

They were 1.9 parts per million above the 1 part per million federal action level for PCBs found in soil.

The department closed the area near Yacht Club Street to investigate the extent of the problem.

Testing of fish and seaweed samples and sediments is continuing.

Health officials are looking into possible sources of the contamination but believe the PCBs flowed into the ocean through a storm drain near a leaking PCB transformer that had been behind a nearby Safeway Supermarket.

Safeway notified the DOH after learning of the leak and removed the transformer. It hired consultants to clean up the contaminated site and sample other areas to determine the extent of the contamination.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers PCBs to be probable human carcinogens.

However, it may take years of regularly eating contaminated fish and shellfish to build up levels of chemicals of health concern, the DOH said.

Mishap causes poison to leak from old fridge

Five people were treated yesterday at St. Francis-West Hospital for exposure to sulfur dioxide gas that leaked out of an old refrigerator at Leeward YMCA.

Children attending a Summer Fun program were moved to an adjoining building.

The incident was reported at 1:06 p.m.

The refrigerator, located in a staff break room, was being cleaned when a puncture occurred in the freezer section, causing the release of sulfur dioxide.

Attorney suspended from practicing law

Maui attorney Thomas P. Griswold has been suspended from practicing law by the Hawaii Supreme Court, effective June 23.

Griswold failed to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel's investigation of his professional conduct in three cases.

The cases continue to be investigated.

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Police, Fire

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Fire at Kalihi business under investigation

Fire investigators are examining the cause of a blaze that caused $20,000 damage to a Kalihi business last night.

The owner of Metal Art Hawaii at 1001 Dillingham Blvd. discovered the fire on the second floor of the building at 10:02 p.m. He heard a "crackling" sound while working on the ground floor, police said.

Fire crews had the blaze under control at 10:13 p.m. and extinguished by 10:34 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

Man, 30, collapses in nightclub, dies

Police are investigating the death of a 30-year-old man who collapsed this morning inside a Honolulu nightclub.

The man was drinking shots of alcohol before he collapsed and went into a seizure inside Venus nightclub at about 1:30 a.m., police said.

He was taken to Queen's Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Police have tentatively ruled out foul play.

Hit-and-run victim ID'd as Felipe Repollo, 72

The 72-year-old man killed Monday while crossing the road in Waialua has been identified by the medical examiner's office as Felipe Repollo.

A 48-year-old Haleiwa woman who allegedly struck him fled the scene and was arrested for hit-and-run and negligent homicide.

Traffic investigators said alcohol may have been a factor.

Del Monte worker dies after fall from forklift

A 64-year-old employee of Del Monte Corp. died yesterday after he fell from a forklift.

He has been identified as James Yogi of Honolulu.

The accident occurred on a Kunia Road site at about 8 a.m., police said. He suffered head injuries and was taken to Queen's Hospital where he died.

There were no signs of foul play.



Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers


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