Big Isle brush fire under controlKAILUA-KONA >> A brush fire burning since Thanksgiving Day consumed about 1,200 acres before being contained yesterday morning, Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Awai said.
The blaze had been reported under control Thursday but jumped a firebreak during the night. But Awai said, "Basically the fire is out and under control."
He said about five firefighters were to remain on site last night "to make sure there's no flare-ups."
Also yesterday, a bulldozer continued creating roads to allow tanker trucks in to control hot spots, he said. By noon, firefighters completed controlled burns within the firebreaks.
Operations were scaled down yesterday to 12 from 50 people, and crews expected to pull out today.
Awai said the fire was "probably suspicious in nature" because it started close to the road, but that no concrete determinations have been made.
About 40 homes in Kona Acres were evacuated for two hours Thanksgiving Day when the flames were about one mile away.
Big names to trim Queen's charity treesLocal celebrities will put their artistry to work decorating Christmas trees for a good cause. The 18-inch trees will be sold at Queen's Medical Center's 47th annual Festival of Trees taking place Thursday through Saturday at Ward Warehouse.
The four-day fund-raiser will also feature handmade gifts and art-collection quality items. Proceeds will go toward buying $30,000 critical-care ventilator machines for the hospital.
Among those participating in the Celebritree portion of the event are University of Hawaii football coach June Jones, entertainer Henry Kapono, actor Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, and Honolulu Symphony Pops conductor Matt Catingub.
The event takes place in the Kewalo and Kakaako rooms on the second floor.
The public is welcome to the opening event Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., which costs $35 in advance or at the door. All items will be available for purchase and there will be music, entertainment, refreshments, wine and champagne.
The trees and other decorations can be seen from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The suggested donation is $1. Children 12 and under are free.
Silent auction bids for the trees close at 2 p.m. Sunday.
For more information and Patron Night tickets call 547-4397.
Molokai to dedicate community centerMolokai will dedicate its new $3 million community center at a ceremony Thursday in Hoolehua.
Lanikeha Hoolehua, a one-story, 10,250-square-foot building, replaces the Molokai Recreation Center, which was closed to large gatherings because of age and deterioration.
The center, which will be managed by Alu Like Inc. and Molokai Community Services Center, is designed to provide a venue for educational and social services.
Its tenants include Punana Leo o Molokai and Alu Like's Pono No Na Kupuna.
>> Sherri K.S. Kono, Melody M. Yoshimura, Jamie-Lee S.K. Alderman, Sasha M. Wilson, Kahala K.J. Kabalis and Jacquelyn A. Tacotaco were awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Donna Mercado Kim Scholarship Fund. Kono and Yoshimura are graduates of Aiea High School. Alderman and Wilson attended Farrington High. Kabalis and Tacotaco are Moanalua High graduates. This is the 18th year Sen. Kim (D, Aiea) has awarded scholarships to high school seniors in her district. In addition, Roxanne P.A. Hood, Charmae T. Echavarre and Reid H. Kawakami were awarded Aloha Spirit Awards. Hood attends Aiea Intermediate. Echavarre is a student at Dole Middle School. Kawakami attends Moanalua Middle School.
>> The Research and Development Department of the County of Hawaii has awarded $5,000 to the Trees for Life Foundation. The grant will be used as seed money to develop a market for agricultural companies that wish to participate in reforestation projects in Hawaii.
>> Honolulu resident Christy A. Itoga has graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College (Mass.). Itoga, a graduate of Roosevelt High School, majored in neuroscience while at Mount Holyoke. She was one of 478 seniors to graduate during ceremonies held May 27.
Corrections and clarifications>> The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii is Brent White. A story on Page A3 yesterday incorrectly gave his first name as Bret.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrections and clarifications
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
6 visit hospital after powder found on planeSix Aloha Airlines employees drove themselves to a hospital yesterday after a crew member found a suspicious substance aboard a Hilo to Honolulu flight.
The flight attendant found the white powdery substance in an overhead bin when Flight 31 arrived at Honolulu Airport just before 10 a.m. yesterday, said Stu Glauberman, Aloha Airlines spokesman.
None of the 51 passengers aboard were affected and no flights were delayed or canceled as a result, he said.
"We followed our internal procedures (for handling suspected anthrax cases) and we came up with a negative finding," Glauberman said.
Three flight attendants, an airline manager and two cabin cleaners drove in a company van to Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi, said Honolulu Fire Capt. Carter Davis. But the hospital said the employees were not treated.
Davis, of the Hazardous Materials team, said it was not deemed to be a credible threat of anthrax by airport management and the airlines but the employees went to the hospital because they "wanted to have a second opinion so they collected a sample and bagged it."
HazMat did not conduct a field test on the substance because it was not considered a credible threat, Davis said, adding that the sample was sent to the state Health Department lab for testing.
Bicyclist now stable after Thanksgiving accidentA 19-year-old bicyclist remained hospitalized yesterday after colliding with a car Thanksgiving night.
Police said a 54-year-old woman was making a left turn from McCully Street onto Beretania Street when the two collided.
The driver of the sedan was not injured, but the 19-year-old man was taken to Queen's Medical Center in serious condition for torso and lower leg injuries, police said. He was in stable condition yesterday.
Police seek kin of man who collapsed on streetHonolulu police and CrimeStoppers are asking for the public's help in identifying and locating the family or legal next-of-kin of Ricardo Murakami, an 85-year-old man who was found collapsed on a Honolulu sidewalk on Nov. 15.
Murakami has been in the Intensive Care Unit at Queen's Medical Center since being found near Rycroft and Piikoi streets. He lives on Laula Way in Honolulu.
Anyone with information regarding Murakami's family is asked to call Queen's at 538-9011, or to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on your cellular phone.
Waiawa facility escapee arrested in KaneoheA 31-year-old man was arrested Friday on suspicion of escaping from the Waiawa Correctional Facility last Saturday.
Police said the man was discovered missing during a midday head count.
He was arrested in Kaneohe after a police officer responding to a "suspicious persons case" recognized him as an escapee from a CrimeStoppers bulletin.