An evening for reflection
About 1,150 candle-lit paper lanterns will be set afloat at Magic Island on Memorial Day in the annual ceremony that this year honors Hawaii members of the military who gave their lives in Iraq, as well as victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. From 1 to 6 p.m., people may submit requests to organizers to have the names of loved ones written on a lantern. The ceremony, organized by Na Lei Aloha Foundation, starts at 6:30.
Guard and reserves get in-state UH tuition
Members of the Hawaii National Guard and reserves who are not residents of the state can now pay resident tuition at University of Hawaii campuses and community colleges.
The Board of Regents approved the change in policy at its monthly meeting Thursday, according to a university news release.
"The action recognizes the significance of the contribution made by these individuals and the importance of their service to the safety of Hawaii residents," the release said.
Current active-duty military personnel and their dependents already are eligible for resident tuition.
The regents also extended the fundraising period for the UH Foundation's Centennial Campaign until June 30, 2009. The foundation hopes to raise $250 million to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the university in 2007.
The board also approved the established status of the Hawaiian lifestyles degree program at Hawaii Community College and the commercial aviation degree program at Honolulu Community College. Both programs had been operating on a provisional status.
HECO fined by EPA for disposal of toxin
The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Hawaiian Electric Co. $1,375 for improperly disposing of material that absorbed a toxic chemical.
In February 2004, officials said a broken utility pole at 2987 Kalakaua Ave. resulted in an oil spill that leaked from three transformers. Crew members used 75 pounds of "absorbent material to soak up the oil from the concrete surface and disposed the material at the local HPOWER waste-to-energy facility," according to officials.
Three days later, officials said tests confirmed the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, in one of the transformers that discharged the most oil.
Officials said HECO violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act when the material was dumped before they received the test results and disposed it at the HPOWER plant, which is not an approved disposal site for PCB.
HUD extends program to native Hawaiians
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says it has signed an agreement with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that will give more native Hawaiians the chance to become homeowners, a news release says.
The agreement makes it possible for native Hawaiians to use a HUD program to get financing for residential mortgages. The program is similar to one that has helped American Indians.
Job fair to monopolize parking at Blaisdell
No daily or city parking will be available tomorrow at Neil Blaisdell Center due to the "Work Force 2006: Job & Career Fair" to be held that day. Those who normally park at the center are reminded to make plans for alternate parking that day.
For more information, call John Fuhrmann at 527-5418.
Services set for Chong, ex-legislator
Memorial services for Big Island businessman and former state legislator Wing Kong "Winkie" Chong will be held Saturday at United Community Church in Hilo.
Chong, 89, died April 25 in Hilo.
Visitation begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be followed by a memorial service at 10:30. Chong is to be buried later at Homelani Memorial Park.
Kona firm donates $5,000 for nature
Kuki'o of Kona, Hawaii
, has donated $5,000 to the Nature Conservancy's Corporate Council for the Environment
. The council, begun in 1987, is a coalition of more than 100 local businesses that have contributed more than $3 million toward environmental protection.
» Kapalua Land Co. has donated more than $30,000 to Maui-based research organizations Whale Trust, Center for Whale Studies and the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation. Donations were generated through Whale Quest Kapalua, a forum honoring the humpback whale.
» The Arc in Hawaii, which serves people with developmental disabilities, has received $20,000 in grants from the Atherton Family Foundation to repair the administration building's roof. Additional funds were also received from the Group 70 Foundation.
» The Taiwanese Association of America, Hawaii Chapter, has selected the following recipients of its first Taiwanese American Community Scholarship Awards: Amy K. Chang of Roosevelt High School; Angela H. Chong, Moanalua High School; Nikki Luong, Farrington High School; Kara S. Akiyama, Kaiser High School; Chihui Yuan, Kalani High School; Mary Rose P. Lansangan, Aiea High School; Ka'Lena S. Cuevas, Pearl City High School; Kathryn R. Cole, Kaimuki High School; Sarah W. Li, McKinley High School; Everett M. Goto, Kailua High School.
Police, Fire, Courts
Kauai man dies after teen driver's van hits car
PUHI, Kauai » A 42-year-old Kauai man was killed Sunday when a van crossed the center line and hit his station wagon head-on.
Michael Gonzales was pronounced dead at Wilcox Hospital. The 17-year-old van driver is still in the hospital.
Police said they are still investigating the accident.
Gonzales is the sixth traffic fatality on Kauai so far this year.
Man arrested in theft of visitor's purse
Police arrested a 30-year-old man who allegedly stole a tourist's purse as she was riding a city bus.
Police said the victim, a 55-year-old woman, and the suspect were riding on a bus that was going around the island at about 11 a.m. Sunday. The suspect reached under the woman's seat and grabbed her purse.
The suspect got off the bus and fled, police said. Quick action by officers in Windward Oahu led to the suspect's arrest, police said, although details were not provided. All of the woman's belongings were recovered, police said. The man was arrested for investigation of second-degree robbery.
Drowned soldier ID'd as Minnesota man, 46
The Department of the Medical Examiner identified the 46-year-old Army Reserve soldier who apparently drowned Sunday while diving at Spitting Caves in Portlock as John B. Hennessey of St. Paul, Minn.
Hennessey was part of a group of 12 to 15 people who participated in a commercial scuba dive boat charter operated by Aaron's Dive Shop. Boat officials noticed Hennessey was in distress at 9:08 a.m. A Honolulu fire spokesman had said ocean conditions were rough.
Boat officials pulled Hennessey into the boat. Attempts by boat officials and Water Safety to revive him were unsuccessful.
An autopsy was performed yesterday, but the cause of death has been deferred pending further investigation, said Becky Swan, investigator of the Department of the Medical Examiner.
The Coast Guard is conducting its own investigation into the commercial vessel operated by Aaron's Dive Shop to make sure they are operating under correct regulations, said spokeswoman Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson.
Hennessey was a member of the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade. The brigade returned last week after spending a year of combat duty in Iraq.
Driver of stolen car is arrested in Aiea
Police arrested a 22-year-old man who nearly got away with a stolen car Thursday.
Police said that at about 10:50 a.m., an officer on patrol noticed a white Honda with two men inside parked on Aiea Heights Drive and partially blocking a lane of traffic.
As the officer passed the car, he ran a check on the license plate and was told that the car was stolen.
When the officer returned to where the Honda was parked, it was gone, but he found the car nearby stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Aiea Heights Drive and Hoio Street. The officer then arrested the driver for investigation of auto theft.
25-year-old is accused of assaulting teen girl
Police arrested a 25-year-old man who allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl Thursday.
Police said the incident happened between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. in Waipahu, when the girl accepted a ride from the man. After the girl got inside the vehicle, the man drove her to an isolated location and sexually assaulted her, police said. He was later arrested for investigation of kidnapping and third-degree sexual assault.
Woman hit by kayak is critically injured
A female swimmer received a severe head injury yesterday when she was hit by a kayak in waters off Diamond Head.
The woman, 50, was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition, said Bryan Cheplic, information officer for the city Emergency Services Department. He said bystanders brought her ashore after the 2:30 p.m. accident about 100 yards offshore in a surfing area known as Tonggs. There was no information on the kayaker, he said.
Suspect flees after trying to steal mo-ped
Police were looking for a man who assaulted another man who tried to prevent him from stealing his mo-ped. Police said that at about 8 p.m. Sunday, a man was trying to steal a mo-ped that was secured to a rack on a street corner in Kaimuki when the owner showed up. Police said when the owner tried to intervene, the suspect assaulted him with bolt cutters he was using to steal the mo-ped.
Police said the victim might have suffered a broken arm but refused treatment at the scene. The suspect fled. Police are investigating the case as a first-degree robbery.
Boy, 16, hides after alleged house break-in
Police arrested a 16-year-old boy who allegedly broke into someone else's house early Sunday and then hid in the bathroom when he was discovered by the home's occupants, police said.
The boy broke into the home in Palolo at about 3 a.m., went into the bedroom of a 13-year-old girl and stole a $1 bill that was folded into the shape of a heart from the girl's wallet, police said.
The girl and a 49-year-old woman were awakened by the noise the boy was making and called police. The boy then locked himself in the bathroom, police said. Officers persuaded the boy to come out, searched him and found the folded dollar bill, police said.
Police arrested the boy for investigation of first-degree burglary. He was later released pending an investigation.
Neighbor interrupts attempted burglary
An alert neighbor helped police catch a man allegedly trying to break into a Waikiki residence early Sunday.
Police said the suspect kicked in louvers next to the front door of a house on Nahua Street at about 12:30 a.m.
A neighbor confronted the man, police said. Officers then arrested the man for investigation of first-degree burglary.
Suspected arrested in sidewalk robbery
Police arrested a 22-year-old man who allegedly robbed a 17-year-old boy who was walking on the sidewalk in Leeward Oahu on Sunday.
Police said the victim was listening to music on his iPod when the suspect approached him and took his property.
When the teen tried to get his belongings back, the suspect assaulted him, police said.
Police later found the suspect and arrested him for investigation of second-degree robbery.
Judge orders 15 years in shotgun killing
A 27-year-old Waianae man will spend no less than the next 15 years in prison for shooting another man in the face over a botched drug deal.
Circuit Judge Richard Pollack approved a plea agreement yesterday and ordered Justin Luhia to spend life in prison with the possibility of parole. But he ordered him to serve a 15-year mandatory minimum because he used a firearm to shoot Joseph Halbuna, 47, in the face at Hau Bush Park in November 2004. Luhia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Luhia and another man, Alexander Akuna, had gone to the park to buy crystal methamphetamine from Halbuna.
But a confrontation resulted in Akuna robbing Halbuna and Luhia shooting Halbuna in the mouth with a shotgun.
Yesterday, Luhia asked for forgiveness, saying he never intended to kill anyone that day. His attorney, Myles Breiner, said Luhia is a peaceful individual but that crystal methamphetamine use creates a temporary psychosis.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said he will ask the Paroling Authority to order Luhia to serve a minimum 25 years because he used a firearm to rob another and ultimately shot the victim.
4 plead not guilty in marriage scam
A public high school teacher and three others accused of conspiring to commit marriage fraud to enable a Chinese citizen obtain permanent resident status here pleaded not guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court.
Bob Loren, a foreign-language teacher at Radford High School; his alleged lover, 20-year-old Hang Duan of China; Shara Padello, 21; and her mother, Julia Bivit-Padello, 43, were arraigned yesterday and released after each posted unsecured bonds ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang also set a further bail review hearing on Friday for Loren after Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino argued that the schoolteacher has been known to use different names and dates of birth and has been issued two Social Security numbers.
Loren, who was laid off from his teaching job at Radford after the allegations arose, denies any of the marriage fraud charges, his attorney, Jerry Wilson, said yesterday.
His client has been living a law-abiding life in the past 20 years with only two contempt of court violations on his record, he said.
Trial was set for July 18.