Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Architect settles campaign lawsuit

A local landscape architect has reached a settlement with the state Campaign Spending Commission over illegal political donations.

Lester Inouye agreed to pay a fine after the commission's investigators alleged that he and his firm gave $20,000 illegally to former Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign and $7,500 to ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano's campaign.

The amount of the fine was not disclosed, but based on past practice, Inouye will likely have to pay more than $20,000 to settle the commission's charges.

The agreement requires the approval of the commission's five-member board, which meets Tuesday.

Inouye's attorney could not be reached for immediate comment.

Lingle delivers funds to fix playgrounds

Gov. Linda Lingle released more than $1.1 million yesterday for safety improvements and new equipment for 15 public elementary school playgrounds.

Schools on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui will receive fresh equipment and upgrades, such as installing concrete foundations and safety padding beneath play areas, to meet safety and accessibility codes.

Some of the schools have not had safe playground equipment since 1998, when safety hazards or failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act prompted the Department of Education to remove the equipment.

"The playground is an important part of every school because it is where students can interact with each other as well as enhance their physical fitness," Lingle said. "These improvements will ensure the students have adequate equipment and a safe place to play."

The amount allocated to each school ranged from $52,000 for Koko Head Elementary School to $90,000 for Waimea Elementary School on the Big Island.

The Department of Accounting and General Services will choose project consultants by month's end. The projects should be complete by mid-2006, according to a spokesman for the governor.

Work begins to ease Kapolei traffic jams

Construction has started on two new Kapolei roads aimed at easing traffic congestion.

Kapolei Property Development, an affiliate of the James Campbell Estate, is funding the $5.3 million project, set for completion in August. It includes:

» Extending Manawai Street by one city block from the Kapolei Library to Kamaaha Avenue.
» Extending Kamaaha Avenue by three city blocks from Fort Barrette Road to Manawai Street.
» Installing a new traffic light at the intersection of Kamaaha Avenue and Fort Barrette Road.

The new roads will provide an alternate route through Kapolei between Kamokila Boulevard and Fort Barrette Road. The Farrington Highway corridor is currently the only access between residential and commercial areas.



» The Group 70 design firm has received two awards from the American Planning Association, Hawaii Chapter. It was given the Outstanding Planning Project Award for its work on Hanauma Bay, and the Safe Planning Current Topic Award for its work on the state Standard Mitigation Plan for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

» A special Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to Hiroo Sato of Pahoa, Hawaii, by the Hawaii Japanese Center in Hilo, recognizing him for his contributions to the general community and to the center. He is the author of "Pahoa Yesterday."


» The Soroptimist International of Waikiki has installed new officers and members on its board of directors, including Betty White, principal of Sacred Hearts Academy, as its president. Jean Ito, owner of Jiffy Lube, is president-elect; Carol Kikkawa-Ward, a financial planner with American Express, vice president; Carolyn Ballou, a senior services consultant, secretary; Jolyn Tamura, a retired archivist, assistant secretary; Nobleza Magsanoc, operations manager of the Pacific Resources Partnership, treasurer; Sandy Young, executive loan officer with Territorial Savings & Loan, assistant treasurer; and Sandra Simms and Vivian Tsuji, directors.

» The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Hawaii has named these new members to its advisory board: Michael Aranoff, Don Carp, Dan Doyle, Gary Kewley, Loki Lum King Cochrane, Mike Peeters, Neil Voje, JoAnn Yee, Steve Crocker, Richard Philpott, Christopher G. Pablo, Alan Shoupe, M.D., and Duke Bainum, M.D.

"Taking Notice" also runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Teen motorcycle fatality ID'd

The Medical Examiner's Office has identified the motorcyclist who was fatally injured in a crash Tuesday night as Markief Lessane.

The 17-year-old Kapolei boy died Tuesday night after his motorcycle crashed in Kalaeloa.

Police said the crash took place along Boomer Street at 6:45 p.m. Police said the victim was traveling at a high rate of speed into the cul-de-sac where Boomer Street ends.

Police said Lessane braked and was thrown from his motorcycle into the chain-link fence surrounding an abandoned building. The 2003 Honda motorcycle he was riding crashed through the fence and landed in the building's driveway, police said.

Lessane was taken to the St. Francis-West Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He died of multiple blunt force injuries, the Medical Examiner's Office reported.

Police said the victim was wearing a helmet and that speed was a factor in the crash. Police were investigating whether alcohol or drugs were also factors.


Police arrest man, 48, after slingshot attack

Honolulu police arrested a 48-year-old man who allegedly used a slingshot to shoot at another man Tuesday.

Police said the suspect had been chewing betel nut all day.

Betel nut is the fruit of the areca palm tree which contains arecoline, a narcotic. Police said the victim, 51, does not know the suspect and was in his vehicle leaving Sand Island State Park when the incident occurred.

The suspect was arrested at 2:15 p.m. for investigation of first-degree terroristic threatening.


Big Isle police recover missing 15-year-old

A 15-year-old girl who had been missing from a detention facility on Kauai for several months has been found, Big Island police said.

Natasha Santos was located at 4:10 p.m. Monday at a residence in Mountain View, Puna.

Police said she was to be flown to Honolulu on Tuesday for a detention hearing. Santos had been missing from the Kauai facility since Oct. 8.


Sinkhole in home forces evacuation

A home in Enchanted Lake in Kailua was evacuated early yesterday because of a sinkhole, according to fire officials.

Firefighters said they were called to the home at 1428 Nanaloko Place at about 1 a.m. after a resident reported a sinkhole inside the house.

No one was injured. There was no word on the size of the sinkhole or what caused it.

Neighbors said the family had moved into the home about two weeks ago.

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