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Newswatch
Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Wednesday, March 23, 2005





Senate panel OKs anti-coqui funding

A Senate committee yesterday advanced a bill calling for more funding to help purge Hawaii of the invasive coqui frog.

The bill, which has made it through the House, would appropriate additional funds for coqui frog control efforts as well as the eradication of other "priority invasive species."

The quarter-sized frogs subsist on the same diet of insects as native birds and are seen by many in the state as a threat to local species.

And while the sound of the frogs' "ko-KEE, ko-KEE" is cherished in their native Puerto Rico, the coquis' loud chirping is unwelcome in the otherwise quiet neighborhoods of the Big Island, which has been particularly affected by the frogs.

The Senate Energy, Environment and International Affairs Committee passed the measure, sending it on to the Ways and Means Committee.

Court upholds ruling in kayaking lawsuit

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that said a California man whose wife disappeared during a honeymoon kayaking trip off Maui six years ago cannot sue the U.S. government.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the U.S. District Court's ruling in the case of Manouchehr Monazzami Taghadomi of Sunnyvale, Calif., whose wife, Nahid Davoodabadi, 29, was lost at sea during a kayaking trip off Lahaina on March 18, 1999.

Taghadomi said his wife was attacked by a shark after nightfall and died. Taghadomi later washed up on Kahoolawe, where he was stranded until his rescue three days later. His wife's body was never found.

Taghadomi and his wife's parents sued the kayak rental company on Maui, Extreme Sports Hawaii, but a federal jury in May 2003 found the company wasn't negligent.

The family also named the federal government in the suit, claiming the Coast Guard was negligent in carrying out its rescue and in failing to contact local authorities who may have been able to save the couple.

U.S. District Judge Alan Kay granted the federal government a summary judgment in the case, which the San Francisco-based appeal court upheld.

Book sale to benefit Waianae Library

The Friends of Waianae Library will hold a book sale Friday and Saturday at the Waianae Public Library.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the library's meeting room. The library itself will be closed both days in observance of Good Friday and Prince Kuhio Day.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to buy new books and fund programs for the library, which is at 85-625 Farrington Highway. For more information, call the library at 697-7868.





Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

LEEWARD OAHU

Kapolei man charged with theft, burglary

A 25-year-old Kapolei man has been linked to several crimes beginning with a Kaimuki auto theft on Sunday.

Shaun P. Ramos-Harrington was charged yesterday with auto theft, first-degree burglary, and two counts of breaking into a motor vehicle. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Police said that at 7:30 a.m., a 56-year-old Kaimuki man was getting his newspaper when he noticed someone in one of his vehicles driving away. He at first thought it was his son but when he went back inside his house he saw his son was still sleeping.

Police were called and an all-points bulletin was issued for the stolen vehicle. Officers spotted the vehicle minutes later in the Kalihi area and found the suspect hiding in the storage room of a home along Ala Kapua Place after a short foot chase. Police said the suspect also stole things from other vehicles in the victim's garage.

Wrong plates help police arrest suspect

A 24-year-old man was arrested yesterday morning after a police officer noticed the vehicle he was driving had license plates belonging to another car.

The suspect was spotted at Barbers Point parked in an area where camping is not allowed along Coral Sea Road at 1:40 a.m. When the officer pulled up behind the suspect, he started up the Honda and drove off.

After checking the license plate the officer discovered they belonged on a four-door Honda instead of the two-door Honda the suspect was driving. The officer stopped the suspect, confirmed the vehicle was reported stolen and arrested the suspect on suspicion of auto theft.

HONOLULU

Officers chase down auto theft suspect

Police charged a 24-year-old Kalihi man yesterday with auto theft and assaulting a police officer.

Police arrested Edward J. Chun at 10:31 p.m. Sunday.

Police checked on reports of loud music at the back of Wilson Elementary School and found a man in a parked vehicle with a female passenger.

Officers discovered the vehicle was stolen and approached.

Police said the suspect started the vehicle and ignored the officer, reversing into one of the officers, hitting the officer's arm with the vehicle.

The suspect fled the scene in the vehicle, striking a wall and a parked car on King Street, police said.

The suspect then exited the vehicle, and police arrested him after a short foot chase near Kahoaloha Lane, police said.

Bail was set at $25,000.

NORTH SHORE

Skeletal remains found in Haleiwa

Police are looking into a case in which the skeletal remains of a body were found on Kamehameha Schools property in Haleiwa yesterday.

A worker who was clearing the land discovered the body in a tent at 12:15 a.m., after he went to check on the man because he had not been seen for several months.

Police have tentatively identified the victim as a 51-year-old male who has been living on the property for the past three years. Police said there appears to be no signs of foul play and have classified this case as an unattended death.



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