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Newswatch
Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, April 14, 2000


Council holds up money
set aside for land purchases

The amounts being set aside by the city to purchase three sites are being held up by the City Council -- at least for now. The amounts and parcels are:

Bullet $5 million for 386 acres -- "Hawaii Kai Golf Course 5 and 6" -- to create the Ka Iwi Park.
Bullet $4.5 million to buy the Aiea Sugar Mill site for establishment of the Aiea Town Center.
Bullet $5 million for the old Hawaiian Dredging Building to establish the Kapahulu Community Center.

Budget Chairwoman Rene Mansho said she wants the Harris administration to get Development Plan approvals and nail down purchase prices before the outlay is approved. She said the city should not be negotiating with landowners after setting a maximum amount.

If talks for the projects aren't completed by May 24, the day of the final hearing for the budget, the administration can come back during the fiscal year with a supplemental capital improvements request, she said.

Councilman John Henry Felix said, "It's good strategy so it doesn't tip our hand as to what the city is willing to pay for a property."

Tapa

Army IDs soldier killed in training accident

The Army identified the soldier killed Wednesday at the Big Island's Pohakuloa Training Area as Spc. Don Falter, 21, from Pocatello, Idaho.

Four other soldiers were injured. They are: Spc. Scott Stewart, Pfc. Adam Craycraft, Pfc. Dewayne Mentis and Pfc. Christopher Hursey. All five soldiers are combat engineers assigned to the 65th Engineer Battalion.

Stewart, Mentis and Hursey were expected to be released from Tripler today. Craycraft was treated at Pohakuloa and released.

The accident occurred Wednesday night while the soldiers were using a bangalore torpedo, which is normally used to blow a gap in barbed wire.

The soldiers were supporting the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade. More than 700 soldiers are participating in the exercise.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, and training at range 10 has been suspended.

$2 million federal grant to aid crime victims

A U.S. Department of Justice agency has awarded the state nearly $2 million to help support crime victim assistance programs.

The $1,991,000 federal award from the crime victims fund will be used to assist survivors of homicide and domestic violence, and victims of sexual assault and child abuse.

The crime victims fund is financed by fines and penalties assessed against convicted federal criminals.

During the fiscal year 1999, more than $985 million was collected nationwide for the fund. Of that total, states will receive about $370 million for victim assistance programs and $81 million for victim compensation.


Correction

Tapa

Auli'i Heine Hirahara is nominated for a Hoku Award in the Haku Mele category. An incorrect last name was given in the nominee list that ran in Tuesday's Today section.






Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Fatal head wound being investigated

Police are investigating the death of a 68-year-old man who was found with a head wound at an Ala Moana bus stop.

An anonymous caller reported that the man was lying unconscious near a bus stop at Ala Moana Beach Park at 11 p.m. Wednesday, police said. He was taken to Queen's Medical Center in critical condition with a wound on the back of his head.

He died from the injury yesterday at 2:45 p.m., police said.

Waianae fire causes $58,000 damage

Fire crews battled a house fire in Waianae early this morning which caused $58,000 damage.

The 12:05 a.m. blaze was at a Lualualei Homestead Road home, fire officials said. It was under control at 12:40 a.m. Residents escaped unharmed. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Probe finds 3 hot spots at Al Phillips plant

Fire investigators have found three separate areas where a fire may have been deliberately started yesterday at Al Phillips Uniform Rental in Mapunapuna.

Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Richard Soo said he is awaiting the results of lab tests, which could confirm arson as the cause of the 1:22 a.m. blaze at 515 Lagoon Drive. The fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

Tapa

In the courts

Man accused of doing unlicensed contract work

The attorney general's office has filed a complaint against a man purportedly doing electrical work without contractor's and electrician's licenses.

Roger Locke will be arraigned in the Honolulu District Court for unlicensed activity and contempt of court.

If convicted, Locke could serve up to one year in jail and pay a $2,000 fine for each charge.

Anyone with information on individuals contracting work without proper licensing should call the Consumer Resource Center in the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs at 587-3222.

Physician indicted for false billing HMSA, state

A Wahiawa physician faces possible prison time and a fine following his indictment for submitting more than $1 million worth of false billings to Hawaii Medical Service Association and the state Medicaid program.

The federal indictments against Sze Ming Suen, 62, owner of Wahiawa Clinic Inc., are for 23 counts of mail fraud and submitting false claims.

The indictments say that from 1988 to 1995 Suen operated a pharmacy or "drug department" in his clinic that was run by an employee who was not licensed as physician or pharmacist. The non-pharmacist dispensed drugs to patients, and Suen billed HMSA and the Medicaid program as if he had personally performed the services, the indictments say.

It's charged Suen's bills were false because they made it appear as if he had dispensed the drugs as required by law and that Suen billed for dispensing expensive brand-name drugs, while his clinic provided cheaper generic substitutes, and that he billed for drugs which he did not provide at all.

If convicted, Suen faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail and fine of up to $250,000 for each of the 23 charges.

The case grew out of a joint federal-state investigation over some years.






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