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Newswatch


Newswatch

Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Electricity use hits new record on Oahu

Oahu residents and visitors joined in setting a record yesterday, a new high for electricity use on the island.

The system peak was 1,291 megawatts used at 1:16 p.m. It topped the previous record of 1,284 megawatts expended in the evening of Oct. 27, 2003.

Hawaiian Electric Co. credits the booming economy and the hot weather for the high use.

"Tourism has made a roaring comeback and low interest rates have boosted construction. This, in turn, increases the use of electricity," said Chuck Freedman, vice president of corporate relations. "And you don't need a weatherman to know it's hot out there."

Freedman suggested looking at the heco.com Web site for energy conservation tips. Advice includes using fans rather than a room air conditioner, taking shorter showers, doing laundry in cold water and using a power strip to turn off televisions, computers and other electronics.

Sex offender registry returns to Internet

Hawaii's public sex offender registry went back online Monday, nearly three years after the state Supreme Court pulled the plug on the Internet listing.

The high court held in 2001 that before an offender's name and address are listed on the registry, a special hearing must be held to give him a chance to show he is no longer a danger to society.

The registry currently contains information on only three men, all of whom are in prison.

"Ultimately, our goal is to have every single sex offender in the state of Hawaii back on the sex offender registry so that people can look at it," Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn said.

With a backlog of more than 1,900 offenders, that could take up to seven years.

A proposed constitutional amendment would pave the way for state lawmakers to eliminate the requirement for such hearings before listing information. The proposal will be listed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

The registry is now located at pahoehoe.ehawaii.gov/sexoff/.

Man allegedly fondles woman during flight

A 68-year-old man who allegedly fondled a female passenger on a Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Honolulu was arrested when the plane arrived here yesterday.

Fono Luapo Atiga, of American Samoa, was charged in a federal complaint with assault aboard an aircraft within the jurisdiction of the United States, said FBI special agent Arnold Laanui.

The 19-year-old woman was seated next to Atiga on the flight, which originated in Pago Pago, American Samoa. About 4:30 a.m., according to an FBI affidavit, she awoke to find Atiga sexually molesting her.

The woman stood up and asked him in a loud voice what he was doing and "why are you touching me," according to an affidavit by FBI special agent Jeff Rutherford. The woman's father, who was seated in front of Atiga, confronted Atiga and had to be separated by the flight crew.

The charge is a misdemeanor and is punishable by less than a year in prison. Atiga has been released by the FBI.




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