Isle battalion loses soldier to Iraq bomb
A Kansas soldier attached to a Hawaii Army Reserve unit died yesterday from injuries sustained earlier this week in the explosion of a homemade bomb in Iraq.
Sgt. Parker Evans was called to active duty from the Individual Ready Reserve and attached to Headquarters Company, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, as a forward artillery observer in Iraq.
He and another soldier were seriously wounded Monday while manning a traffic checkpoint along a stretch of road west of LSA Anaconda, a U.S. base in Northern Iraq. Both soldiers were evacuated to Germany, where Parker died. The other soldier is in stable condition.
Two other soldiers received minor injuries. They received medical attention and returned to duty. None of the soldiers injured in the attack are from Hawaii.
The insurgents responsible for the attack were apprehended a short distance away.
Tax break for hybrids stirs Council debate
Buyers of hybrid gasoline-electric cars next calendar year would not have to pay county weight tax for a year under a measure moved out of the City Council's Budget Committee yesterday.
Councilwoman Barbara Marshall said she is concerned that this tax break will be only for those people who can afford to buy a new car "on the backs of those who can't afford it."
But the bill's author, Charles Djou, said the Council should adopt a policy on reducing the dependence on fossil fuels.
"Do we want to do something to encourage fuel efficiency here in our community? ... Is that an important policy goal of this Council? I believe it is," Djou said.
Budget Director Mary Pat Waterhouse testified that she does not believe additional incentives are needed to encourage the purchase of these vehicles because there already is a three-month waiting list for them and the federal government will also offer a tax break beginning Jan. 1.
Waterhouse said the measure would mean a loss of $113,400 in revenues and could result in the current operating budget becoming unbalanced because of the loss of revenue.
Bill 61 now goes to the City Council for a public hearing.
Ten teenagers from St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Kailua-Kona have won a national media award for producing a music video that addresses housing and homelessness in Hawaii.
The 10-minute DVD -- "Let Their Voices Be Heard!" -- won the $1,000 grand prize in the 2004-2005 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Multimedia Youth Arts Contest.
The group, called the "Confirmation Teens," will receive the award at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Atlanta this week.
When they return from Atlanta, the Kona youths will share the DVD with their Catholic peers statewide, using it as a catalyst for a legislative petition drive to help Hawaii's poor. They plan to present their petition to Gov. Linda Lingle at the start of the legislative session in January.
According to their instructor, Tom Peters, after conducting extensive research, the Teens visited low-income housing projects, shelters and the parish's food pantry. They interviewed public officials and Big Island residents who face the challenges of poverty. Six hours of footage was shot, and the group spent some 35 hours editing it down to 10 minutes.
"The students broke the 'us and them' boundary between themselves and the homeless people they met," he said.
Teen members include Ben Agdeppa, Stephen Alves, Alanna Bender, Bridget Clarke, Jared Crivello, Daniel Guillen, Miyeko Inafuku, Mary Kauli'a, Matt Roderick and Angelica Soto.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Fisherman finds body off Pokai Bay
The body of a man in his 50s who apparently drowned while free-diving was found yesterday about a quarter-mile off Pokai Bay.
Police said the man has not been identified. They do not suspect foul play.
The man was found by a fisherman about 1:52 p.m. He was wearing a diving fin on one foot but no other diving gear.
Police said he did not match the identity of any people reported missing recently.
Lifeguards brought the man's body to Waianae Boat Harbor after the fisherman spotted him. The man will undergo an autopsy to determine an exact cause of death.
Man allegedly tries to start stolen motorcycle
Police arrested a man who was allegedly seen Tuesday night trying to kick-start a stolen motorcycle in Ewa Beach.
An officer spotted the man at 11:16 p.m. as he attempted to kick-start the motorcycle on Fort Weaver Road near Ewa Beach Road while blocking one lane of traffic. While approaching the suspect, the officer also noticed the motorcycle did not have license plates and that the ignition was damaged.
The officer then learned that the motorcycle had been reported stolen. He arrested the man for investigation of auto theft.
Suspect is charged in Kapiolani beating
A 25-year-old man was charged yesterday with attempted murder in a beating that occurred last weekend along Kapiolani Boulevard.
Maurice Nakama was the second suspect arrested in the case and had turned himself in Monday to police. He is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.
According to police, a man and his wife were crossing Kapiolani Boulevard near Mahukona Street near Ala Moana Center about 10:30 p.m. Saturday when they were involved in a traffic incident with the occupants of a vehicle.
The couple finished crossing the street, but they were approached on foot by a passenger from the vehicle who punched the husband, 45, several times. Police said the driver tried to break up the fight and punched the wife, 42, as he left.
Police said the husband was in critical condition at the Queen's Medical Center. A 31-year-old man previously surrendered to police and was arrested on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder and third-degree assault.
Police look for 2 men in car repair scam
"Joseph Rivera": He approached an elderly woman twice, offering to repair her car
"Tom Lewis": He was seen cashing a check for $8,500 at a bank
Police want help identifying two men who are wanted for questioning in connection with a car repair scam and theft.
Police said that on Sept. 4 a 78-year-old woman was stopped while driving her car in the Times Super Market parking lot on South King Street. A man who identified himself as Joseph Rivera told her the vehicle was wobbling and unsafe.
Rivera asked the woman to pull over so he could look under her car, then told her afterward that he could do repairs for $40,000. She agreed and allowed Rivera to drive her car while she rode with a female companion of Rivera's to the Kapahulu branch of Bank of Hawaii, where she withdrew $400. Bank surveillance cameras recorded Rivera on video as he waited for the victim to take out cash, police said.
Then on Sept. 6, police said, Rivera went to the victim's house to ask for $85,000 to finish making repairs.
When the victim told him that was too much money, he asked for $8,500, police said. The victim agreed and wrote a check for that amount made out to a "Tom Lewis," police said.
Surveillance camera video showed a man cashing that check at the Waialae branch of Bank of Hawaii, police said.
The victim later discovered her automated teller machine card missing and called her bank. The bank has surveillance of Rivera making four unauthorized withdrawals from the Kailua branch of Bank of Hawaii, police said.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or by dialing *CRIME on a cellular phone.
Maui motorcyclist dies after hitting a tree
WAILUKU » A man died Tuesday after he was ejected from the motorcycle he was riding and struck a tree in South Maui. Robert Schuitemaker died at the scene of the crash that occurred at 10:03 p.m., police said yesterday.
Police traffic investigator Duke Pua said Schuitemaker, who was not wearing a helmet, was traveling west on Wailea Ike Drive when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a curb. He was ejected from the motorcycle and struck a tree on the shoulder of the road, Pua said.
Schuitemaker was the 10th traffic fatality on Maui this year, compared with 13 for the same period last year.