State closes Fern Grotto to reduce risk of rockfalls
The Fern Grotto at Wailua River State Park on Kauai will be closed for at least three weeks while a contractor removes or stabilizes rocks in danger of falling on people.
The attraction was closed yesterday, after an inspection by a team of geotechnical specialists, rockfall mitigation experts and state officials, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
"Fern Grotto experienced rockfalls during the height of the heavy rains in February and March. Sections of walkway were subsequently closed off," said DLNR Director Peter Young. "Recently, several rocks have fallen, striking the viewing area. One was a boulder 4 feet across."
Specialists determined yesterday that several rocks pose an immediate danger to anyone standing below the grotto entrance, where visitors congregate to take in the view.
During the closure, Wailua River tour boats will not be allowed to land, Young said. Work to mitigate the rockfall hazard will begin tomorrow.
» Duke's Waikiki has honored Henrietta Clemons of Palolo Elementary School as its 2005-2006 Educator of the Year with a gift certificate and commemorative plaque. Clemons has been the school's "Vista Person" for five years, tutoring and promoting reading at all grade levels and assisting with extracurricular activities.
» Harrison Gordon Matthews of Makawao, Maui, a student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, has been cited for outstanding academic achievement in the Writing Program during the Winter 2006 term.
» St. Francis School junior Jessica Oyama received three awards for volunteering for more than 300 hours at the American Red Cross station at Tripler Army Medical Center. She has been given the Presidential Gold Volunteer Service Award, the Teen Volunteer of the Year award and a certificate of appreciation.
» Professor Michael Egan, a scholar-in-residence at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and adjunct professor of English at TransPacific Hawaii College, has won the 2006 Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship. The award was to honor him for his book "The Tragedy of Richard II, Part One: A Newly Authenticated Play by William Shakespeare."
Police, Fire, Courts
Dress-up artist admits to six bank robberies
A cross-dressing bank robbery suspect who was arrested Thursday for a Jan. 31 bank robbery has also confessed to five other bank robberies, police said.
Dwayne Medeiros, also known as Kaleo, was charged in federal court yesterday for robbery and drug offenses.
The 33-year-old Medeiros kept changing his look, allegedly dressing in women's clothing in two robberies, a fake beard and a nylon stocking mask in other robberies, said CrimeStoppers coordinator Kim Capllonch.
CrimeStoppers credits tips from the public in Medeiros' arrest Thursday at 1922 Kalakaua Ave.
In the latest robbery, April 18, at the American Savings Bank in Kapahulu, Medeiros allegedly used a black nylon stocking mask with a red hood to disguise himself and brandished a gun.
In the Jan. 31 bank robbery, he allegedly robbed two tellers at the McCully branch of Territorial Savings Bank.
Before Medeiros' arrest, police had 10 unsolved bank robberies, but that has been reduced to four cases, Capllonch said.
Man alleged of repeatedly ramming girlfriend's car
Police arrested a 28-year-old man after he allegedly rammed his car into his ex-girlfriend's vehicle five times yesterday in Kalihi.
The woman, 21, was stopped at a red light at 1:30 p.m. when the man saw her and allegedly drove into the intersection and rammed her vehicle.
The woman tried to drive away but the man chased after her and rammed into her vehicle four more times at three different locations, police said.
The woman eventually eluded the suspect and called police.
Officers later found the suspect at a Middle Street address and arrested him for investigation of five counts of first-degree criminal property damage.
Victim of Waipio fall ID'd as property owner
HILO » A man who apparently fell to his death on the Waipio Valley road Saturday night has been identified by Hawaii County police as Roger Lasko, 61, of Kukuihaele, the village bordering the rim of the valley.
There is no evidence of foul play, and the case is being investigated as a coroner's inquest, police said.
Lasko's body was found by a passer-by at 9:24 p.m. Saturday at a point on the road where he had apparently fallen from private property above.
The point was near the man's home, but it is not clear if he fell from his own property or neighboring property, police said. Conditions were dark and rainy at the time.
An autopsy to determine factors such as Lasko's medical condition was scheduled for today.
Several Internet sites identify Lasko as the owner of Waipio Ridge Vacation Rental. A description of the facility at www.hawaiigeneralstore.com says Lasko came to the Big Island in 1968 from Detroit to teach industrial arts.
Injuries prove fatal in motorcycle collision
A 57-year-old Big Island man died Sunday from injuries he suffered on Saturday when his motorcycle collided with a car in Mountain View.
Big Island police said the man, Glen League of Keaau, was traveling toward Volcano at about 10 a.m. on a 1999 Vulcan motorcycle when he rear-ended a 1988 two-door Pontiac sedan that was making a right turn into the Mountain View Post Office parking lot.
He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died at 12:15 p.m. yesterday. The driver of the Pontiac, a 48-year-old Mountain View woman, was not injured.