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Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, December 15, 1999


Millennium Moments

Millennium special

Mules moved island's people

FOR just 5 cents, at the turn of the century, one could ride from Houghtailing Road to Thomas Square, a trip of about two miles.

The mode of transit: mule-drawn trams mounted on rails, according to "Hawaii the Electric Century" by Carl Myatt and Deborah Uchida.

That was just one of several routes offered to riders, the authors say -- another went from the Honolulu post office to Kapiolani Park, a 4.3-mile journey costing 10 cents.

The mule-drawn transports were run by Hawaiian Tramways, Ltd., a company launched by Briton G.G. Gribble in December 1888. The firm operated for 15 years before being bought by Honolulu Rapid Transit and Land Co. (HRT), which ran an electric tram service, the authors say.

Tapa

OHA to fund land claims
brought against state

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has approved granting $574,810 to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. to assist Hawaiian beneficiaries in bringing claims against the state for breaches of the Hawaiian Homes Lands trust.

The legal corporation's lawsuits arise from Gov. Ben Cayetano's veto of a bill passed by the 1999 state Legislature that would have continued a claims review panel intended to resolve alleged wrongs against the trust, OHA said in a news release.

"Since the state is unable to make good on its promises to help Hawaiians, it is now the responsibility of OHA trustees to work as a team and carry the ball that the state has fumbled," board Chairwoman Rowena Akana said.

Lindsey trial delayed for work on resignation

Opening arguments in the trial over the permanent removal of ex-Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey were delayed this morning.

Probate Judge Colleen Hirai granted a request by Lindsey's lawyer Michael Green to hold off the proceedings until later this afternoon to work out an arrangement for Lindsey's resignation from the trust.

Lindsey, who was permanently removed by Circuit Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo in May in a separate trial, left the courtroom this morning with no comment.

If Lindsey did not resign, the trial was to proceed as planned this afternoon, according to James Kawashima, attorney for the trust's court-appointed interim board of trustees. The interim board has sued for Lindsey's permanent removal, saying she and fellow trustees Henry Peters and Richard "Dickie" Wong threatened the estate's tax-exempt status by taking excessive compensation and neglecting the educational mission of the trust. Wong and Peters resigned earlier this month.

The interim board is seeking to remove Lindsey for a second time because she is appealing Judge Hifo's May ruling.

$54 million financing secured for Galleria

Developers say they have secured $54 million in financing for the long-promised Galleria Shopping Center that is to open at the downtown post office, but the U.S. Postal Service says it still must see the documents before it sets a closing date.

A press release from City Councilwoman Rene Mansho said USPO Redevelopment Corp., which had hoped to start developing the historic building as early as 1996, had secured financing from its equity partners, Chevron Oil USA and Woodstone LLC.

David Eales, manager of Realty Asset Management for the U.S. Postal Service, said he was notified that financing had been secured, but he hadn't seen any documents, nor did he have reports about how the developers would preserve the historic building. "I just need to be assured about how they're going to pay for the property," Eales said today.

The USPO Redevelopment, which plans to purchase the historic postal complex, has announced a series of startups and delays over the years.

Group to honor child-care workers

Good Beginning Alliance, a nonprofit community organization, is seeking nominations of outstanding early child-care professionals for the 2000 Early Childhood Professional of the Year award.

Nominees must have at least five years of experience in providing direct care to children under 6. They also must spend at least 75 percent of their day working directly with children and not be in administrative positions.

The award winner and five finalists will be honored April 7.

Call 531-5502 or write to Good Beginnings Alliance, 828 Fort Street Mall, Suite 203, Honolulu 96813. Nominations must be postmarked by Feb. 11.


UPDATE

Tapa

Punahou ramp

Construction to add another lane to the Punahou Street offramp of the H-1 Freeway will begin late next summer and take more than a year, transportation officials say.

The $5 million project, announced last year, is to alleviate congestion and increase safety at the busy Koko Head-bound offramp, transportation officials said. When the signal at the top of the offramp is red, the backup is extended along the freeway.

The project is in the design stage, and bids will go out early next year. The state is negotiating with Shriners Hospital and a Buddhist temple to buy easements for the extended ramp, said state transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali.

When completed, there will be two exit lanes.

John Steelquist, chairman of the Makiki, Lower Punchbowl, Tantalus Neighborhood Board, said he is pleased with the much-needed project. He said the traffic delays and slowdowns during the construction period will all be worth it.



By Jaymes Song, Star-Bulletin


Corrections

Tapa

Bullet In a story yesterday about the evacuation of King Kaumualii Elementary School, the Kauai Fire Department captain in charge of the Hazardous Materials Team was incorrectly identified. He is Myles Moriguchi.






Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Short circuit damages Gateway Plaza sign

An electrical short circuit of the neon sign identifying the Kihei Gateway Plaza in Wailuku caused $6,000 in fire damage last night.

Maui firefighters had the fire under control less than 20 minutes after the alarm at 8:47 p.m.

Airborne Express worker arrested in thefts

An Airborne Express delivery man was arrested yesterday, accused of stealing several packages while on the job. The arrest was made following the company's internal investigation.

A "bait package" was placed after several reports of missing items, and the suspect took the bait package and was confronted by the employer, police said. He returned numerous items of stolen property.

Housesitter taped up; suspects search home

Police are investigating a "home invasion" robbery in Moanalua yesterday.

A 46-year-old man was house-sitting for his friend when two men walked into the Ala Ilima Street apartment at 5:50 p.m., police said.

The suspects ordered the man to the floor, used duct tape to bind him, searched the unit and left, police said. One suspect allegedly had a handgun.

Police investigate apparent kidnapping

Police are investigating the apparent kidnapping of a 31-year-old man who was taken from his car on the H-3 Freeway, then beaten and held for 12 hours.

The man said three men in a white Chevy pulled him over on the H-3 Freeway and forced him into their car at knifepoint at 2 p.m. yesterday, police said.

The suspects drove him around the Waipahu area and beat him, the man told sheriff's deputies. He was held until about 1:30 a.m. and then dropped off at the airport where he discovered his car and reported the incident.






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