Hawaii's toxic output for 2004 drops slightly from year before
The amount of toxic chemicals Hawaii industrial and military facilities released into the environment or transferred off site for disposal in 2004 dropped slightly when compared with the previous year, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The 42 facilities reported toxic chemical releases of 3.161 million pounds in 2004, compared with 3.163 million pounds in 2003, a drop of less than one-tenth of a percent. Nationally, toxic chemical releases decreased by 4 percent in the same period. The data does not indicate whether a facility violated environmental laws since state and federal regulations designed to protect human health and the environment take into account site-specific conditions, exposure and toxicity.
Sixth-grade student wins poetry contest
An Aikahi Elementary School sixth-grader was named grand-prize winner for Oahu of the seventh annual poetry contest in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Sam Spengler received his award Thursday at the Mission Memorial Auditorium. He wrote about the war in Iraq and showed how in "the midst of all that, people can still achieve peace," said International Peace Poem Project coordinator Melinda Gohn.
The poem reads: "There are people in the middle of the chaos, holding hands and closing their eyes, humming a sweet melody, dreaming without care, off in their own world, and they are at peace. I just know it."
Some 100 Oahu children also received certificates of merit for their poems, Gohn said.
The poem project sponsors the King competition in each Hawaii county. Similar award ceremonies will be held later this month on Kauai and the Big Island.
For more information, visit the project's Web site at www.peacepoem.org.
Power knocked out for Tantalus residents
Forty customers temporarily suffered a power failure yesterday after a 30-foot tree and a utility pole fell in Tantalus.
The incident occurred at 12:20 a.m. near the 3300 block of Tantalus Drive.
HECO spokeswoman Lynne Unemori said affected customers were without power for about seven hours before crew members restored it at 8:30 a.m. Unemori said crew members had to wait for the city to clear the tree before restoring power. It is unknown what caused the tree and utility pole to fall, she said.
Speaker to discuss universe's evolution
Manuel Peimbert of the National Autonomous University of Mexico will give a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, entitled "The Origin of the Elements: Are We Made of Stardust?"
Peimbert will discuss evolution of the universe and stars.
He will describe how sunlike stars evolve to produce a planetary nebula and a white dwarf, while more massive stars end up in a supernova explosion resulting in a gaseous nebula and a remnant that could be a neutron star or black hole, according to an IFA news release.
Peimbert has been a researcher since 1968 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he received his bachelor's degree. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of California-Berkeley.
Admission and parking are free for the "Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture."
Police, Fire, Courts
2 treated for burns after fire in Hauula
Two people were taken to Straub Clinic & Hospital after receiving minor burns Saturday at a house fire in Hauula.
About 20 to 25 firefighters responded to the blaze at about 10:35 p.m. in a three-bedroom wooden structure at 54-256 Honomu St. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 10:57 p.m.
The cause of the fire, which was confined to a bedroom located in the rear of the home, was likely caused by an unattended candle, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig.
A man and a woman were taken to Straub. Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the Emergency Medical Services, said both were released after being treated for first- and second-degree burns to their hands.
Damage to the home is estimated at $50,000.
Kapolei man arrested for alleged kidnapping
Police arrested a 30-year-old Kapolei man on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, 19, on Friday.
Police said the couple's relationship ended a year ago.
The man allegedly threatened to harm the woman and her family unless she agreed to meet with him, police said.
The woman was with two female friends at Pearlridge Center when the man arrived and tried to pick them up, police said.
The woman felt compelled to get into the car because of the earlier threat, police said.
The man drove the three women to a nearby area and allegedly forced the two other women to get out.
When the ex-girlfriend tried to escape, he grabbed her, threw her back in, hit her and drove off.
The woman was able to escape, use a pay phone and call police.
The incident occurred between 4 and 5:30 p.m.
15-year-old allegedly steals father's rifles
Police arrested a 15-year-old Mililani boy who allegedly stole six of his father's rifles and ran away from home.
Police said the theft occurred between March 31 and Thursday.
The boy's father, 43, discovered six of his firearms missing. On Friday the father and son argued, and the son ran away.
The man called police and the son returned. He was arrested on suspicion of six counts of first-degree theft and being a runaway. The case is pending investigation.
Californian is arrested for alleged sex assault
Police arrested a 24-year-old California man who allegedly sexually assaulted an exotic dancer at a Honolulu strip club last week.
The suspect was a patron of Club Rock-Za, 1770 Kapiolani Blvd., where the woman worked.
The man was arrested at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault.