Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A fireman suffered first- and second-degree burns yesterday in a fire at 1025 Kalo Place near the University of Hawaii at Manoa. An apartment unit was destroyed and upper units damaged in the late-afternoon fire, which left two brothers and a family homeless. See story below.

» Alan Akaji, an administrator of the state Department of Education's financial and business matters, has been awarded the department's 2004 Employee of the Year Award.

Recipients of the Sustained Superior Performance Awards include Kristie Araki, a student service coordinator at Kaneohe Elementary School; Joann Fu, a technology coordinator of Moanalua Middle School; Cathy Haraguchi, an administrative assistant at Kaumualii Elementary School; Amy Masuhara, a cafeteria manager at Jefferson Elementary School; Sandra Matias, head custodian at Campbell High School; Bonnie Pierce, an educational assistant at Wailuku Elementary School; and Alvin Rho, a complex-area superintendent in West Hawaii.

Certificates of Achievement went to Sharon Mikami, a baker at Waikiki Elementary School; Betty Nakata, an educational assistant at Jarrett Middle School; and Helene Shinjo, a registrar at Moanalua High School.

The Team Excellence Award of Merit went to the Moanalua High Professional Development Team of Pricilla Shimamoto, Ellen Miyasato, Kathy Yamashiroya, Merle Harada, Carolyn Morita, Teri Ushijima, Robin Martin and Ken Fukada.

» The Beta Beta Gamma Foundation has donated $2,025 to the American Red Cross to fund several scholarships for certified nurse's aide training; $1,500 to the Institute for Criminal Rehabilitation for drug testing for those trying to stay sober and productive; and two $1,000 scholarships to the University of Hawaii.

» Citifinancial has donated $15,000 to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu School-Based Mentoring Program.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Apartment near UH destroyed by fire

Honolulu fire officials are investigating the origin of a blaze that consumed a fifth-floor studio apartment near the University of Hawaii at Manoa yesterday afternoon.

One firefighter received first- and second-degree burns on his arms during the fire. He was treated and released from Straub Clinic & Hospital, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.

The fire was reported at 3:27 p.m., and when firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the windows of University Villa's Unit 505, at 1025 Kalo Place, officials said.

The fire was brought under control at 3:45 p.m., but residents of the 10-story building were not allowed back in until about 5:30 p.m., fire officials said.

The unit had been occupied by two brothers who are UH students and were not at home at the time.

Damage was estimated at $110,000 for the apartment's structure and contents, as well as another $200,000 for the building's exteriors, due mostly to smoke damage.

American Red Cross officials said they provided emergency housing and clothing to the two brothers and the family living in a smoke-damaged unit above the destroyed apartment.

Early-morning thieves fail to take automobile

Police are looking for two male suspects who allegedly robbed four people and tried to steal their car in the Diamond Head area early yesterday.

Police said one of the suspects approached two men and two women seated in a Volvo at about 4:30 a.m.

The suspect allegedly brandished a shotgun and took a wallet, a camera and the car, police said.

But as he drove away, the car hit a rock, and he abandoned it and got into a Dodge Stratus, driven by the other suspect, police said.

The getaway car was later found abandoned in Palolo, police said.

BB gunman gets caught in a jam

A rush-hour traffic jam thwarted the getaway of a man who allegedly shot a city worker with BB gun Tuesday, police said yesterday.

The victim, 45, was cutting grass at Dole Community Park at 404 Magellan Ave. in the Punchbowl area at about 5 p.m. when he was shot from behind by someone in a passing car.

The victim and his co-workers chased and caught the suspect, who was stuck in traffic, police said. The workers recovered a gas-powered BB gun and detained the man until police arrived.

Police arrested the 21-year-old man, of Iwilei, for suspicion of second-degree assault and possession of a replica gun.

Mother, son arrested for drugs and gambling

Police arrested a 28-year-old man and his 49-year-old mother Tuesday for allegedly selling drugs and running gambling operations in the Kapiolani area.

Vinny M. Nguyen and his mother, Nhung Nguyen, were allegedly selling drugs from their apartment at 2751 Kapiolani Blvd. and on the street, said Capt. Evan Ching, of the Honolulu Police Department's Narcotics/Vice Division. An undercover police officer went to the apartment and bought drugs, police said.

Police obtained a search warrant and recovered 73 grams of cocaine, valued at $8,760; 12 tablets of Ecstasy, worth $480; and 16 grams of marijuana, valued at $400. Police also found gambling records, $4,959 in cash and a plasma television.

Both were charged with first-degree promotion of dangerous drugs, among other drug charges. Vinny Nguyen was also charged with possession of gambling records, a felony.

Newspaper boy robbed of his CD player

A male suspect robbed a 15-year-old newspaper boy at gunpoint Tuesday in Moiliili.

Police said the boy was delivering newspapers at 5:31 p.m. when the suspect, described as in his late teens or early 20s, approached him with what appeared to be a handgun.

The suspect allegedly demanded money, but when the boy told him he did not have any, the suspect took his compact disc player and fled on foot, police said. The boy was not hurt.


Police still searching for Puna woman, 55

Big Island police have renewed their request for the public's help in finding a Puna woman who has been reported missing since Aug. 11.

Francesca Obrien, 55, was last seen at her Makamae Street residence in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Obrien is 5 feet 5 inches tall, about 200 pounds, with a fair complexion, brown hair and green eyes. She wears prescription glasses.

Anyone with information can call Detective Tom Poy at 961-2383 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers



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