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Saturday, August 20, 2005
Kawamoto case referred for criminal investigationThe Campaign Spending Commission has sent a nine-page list of complaints about former state Sen. Cal Kawamoto's use of campaign funds to the state attorney general for a criminal investigation. Some allegations of misuse of thousands of dollars of campaign funds are detailed, said Bob Watada, the commission's executive director. "We could have gone on for quite a few pages. We just wanted to highlight some of the things we thought were improper." The major issues involve Kawamoto's transfer of campaign assets to himself at the Waipahu Community Adult Day Health Care and Youth Day Care Center, which he heads, Watada said. They included an automobile, two Segway human transporters and about $132,000 from the campaign account, Watada said. Last year, the commission settled with Kawamoto on earlier improper expenditures and failure to report contributions, Watada said. Even after the agreement, he said, the former Waipahu Democratic senator continued to use campaign money for personal benefit. Watada said the commission wrote to Kawamoto in January and told him to freeze all of his campaign assets. Money remaining in a campaign fund after an election must be returned to donors by state law if the politician doesn't intend to run again, he pointed out. This is the first campaign spending case sent to the attorney general by the commission for a criminal investigation, Watada said.
Program aims to give the blind independenceTen blind seniors from Oahu and the neighbor islands will participate in an enrichment training program tomorrow through Wednesday at Ho'opono, 1902 Bachelot St.
The Department of Human Services, Ho'opono Services for the Blind branch, is sponsoring what it hopes will be an annual program to give blind seniors self-confidence and independence.
They are starting with a small group but hope to find money to do it again next year, said Lynette Honjiyo, rehabilitation teacher. She said they have people on a waiting list.
Tomorrow's program will be from 3 to 8:30 p.m. at the Pagoda Hotel. Classes will be at Ho'opono and outside sites from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday's program, from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., will include lunch and a presentation of certificates.
Training will be provided in meal preparation, traveling, shopping, accessing customer services and walking with a cane. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences and discuss issues related to blindness. For more information on the senior enrichment training or Ho'opono's "New Visions" program, call Lea Grupen, the branch's counseling section supervisor, at 586-5275.
Supreme Court allows for withdrawal of pleaThe Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled that a man convicted as an accomplice in a 2000 Hawaii Kai standoff can withdraw his plea and go to trial.
Gerven Sorino was sentenced in July 2002 to 10 years in prison as an accomplice to attempted murder and firearm offenses in the five-hour standoff. His friend Peter Takeda was convicted of attempted first-degree murder for shooting off 100 rounds at police from the balcony of his Hawaii Kai apartment.
The standoff ended after a police sharpshooter injured Takeda, who later claimed he believed the police were assassins sent by his estranged wife to kill him.
Almost a year after Sorino was sentenced, he sought to withdraw his plea, arguing that the trial court failed to properly advise him that he could be deported. The trial court denied his motion, and the Intermediate Court of Appeals, in its June 29 majority opinion, agreed with the trial court.
The Supreme Court said that the trial court should have advised Sorino on the record as required by law about the consequences of his conviction or allow him to withdraw his plea.
» The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has received $100,000 from the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco. The funds, the third grant for the same amount bestowed since 2003, will be used for the continued growth of educational programming for older residents of Honolulu.
» Leeward Community College won first place among 1,750 entries for its 2004 academic catalog in the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations Paragon Awards competition.
» Iolani School won the statewide Island Insurance Companies 2005 Hawaii Economics Challenge, sponsored by the Hawaii Council on Economic Education.
» Nissan North America Inc. donated more than $27,000 to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund to provide higher education for automotive design and mechanical engineering students.
» John Hart, assistant dean of Hawaii Pacific University's College of Communication, has been accepted into the Fulbright Senior Specialists program. His research is in the area of myth in popular culture.
» Hilo High School's Academic Decathlon Team has won the 2005 Hawaii State Academic Decathlon Championship, its 13th consecutive state title. Team members are James Bishop, Charles Cryan, Bryson Hagerman, Jin Izawa, Hannah Moore, Kyle Power, Peter Shewmaker, Christopher Todd and Ryo Tulman. Team coaches are Kristine Hayashi and Kim Sasaki-Power.
» The University of Hawaii at Manoa's Graduate Division has awarded its first Graduate Mentoring Award to anthropology professor P. Bion Griffin.
By Star-Bulletin staff
Two Big Island men died from injuries received in two separate crashes Thursday.
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