Sand Island renovations planned
Sand Island State Recreation Area restrooms at the Ewa end of the park will undergo a second phase of renovation, including asbestos abatement, beginning this week, according to state officials.
Restrooms Nos. 5 and 6 will get repairs to floor and wall tiles, repair of toilet partitions and accessories, new paint, roofing and accessible elements including showers, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Former CEO of Queen's Health joins Rehabilitation Hospital as vice president
Dr. Gary A. Okamoto
, formerly with the Queen's Health Systems, has joined the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific as senior vice president and chief medical executive.
Okamoto recently retired as president and chief executive officer of Queen's. He previously served as REHAB's medical director from 1983 to 1992, serving part time from 1996 to 1999.
He is a certified physiatrist, specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. A member of numerous boards, he is currently president-elect of the Honolulu County Medical Society, the largest organization of physicians in Hawaii.
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Castle & Cooke Hawaii has donated $12,000 to Goodwill Industries of Hawaii for its Ohana Career and Learning Center. The building project in Kapolei is scheduled to open in 2008.
It will offer classrooms for job training and placement programs, a community access and resource room, and a retail store. The center will enable residents to enter the work force and become less dependent on public support, according to a release.
Police, Fire, Courts
Suspected arson blackens 5,000 acres on Haleakala
KULA, Maui » A brush fire on the south side of Haleakala had burned about 5,000 acres by last night and continued to threaten homes in Kahikinui and indigenous plants in the national park.
Maui Fire Department personnel were expected to stay on the scene overnight, Assistant Battalion Chief Alan Pascua said.
"At this time, several fronts are not even contained and are free-burning all the way up to the 5,500-foot elevation," Pascua said at about 9 p.m.
The fire grew quickly from 500 acres reported at 4 p.m.
A CH-47 Chinook military helicopter from Oahu was on the scene last night, along with four MFD helicopters, five trucks, bulldozers and tankers. About 25 Fire Department personnel and several organizations are working together to fight the blaze.
Pascua said 16 National Park Service firefighters from the Big Island would arrive to help today. MFD is also requesting more air support from Oahu.
The fire started around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Although its cause is still being investigated, officials suspect it could be arson because there were multiple fires at the initial alarm.
Last night, crews were concentrating their efforts on Hawaiian Homestead land.
The Fire Department evacuated 25 people and eight homestead properties in Kahikinui. The residents went to shelters in Kula and Hana, said Ellen Pelissero, Maui County spokeswoman.
"It's tinder-dry there," Pelissero said.
Officials temporarily closed Piilani Highway, Route 31, near Oheo Gulch.
Single-car crash kills Schofield soldier, 27
A 27-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier died yesterday in a single-car crash after he slammed into a utility pole.
At about 2:17 a.m., police said, the driver was traveling south on Kunia Road near Anonui Street in a white 1991 four-door Chevy when he veered to the shoulder and struck the pole.
The vehicle rolled over, and the driver was ejected from the Chevy and then crushed by it. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Speed and alcohol were possible factors.
Positive identification of the 27-year-old man is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. This is the 68th traffic-related fatality on Oahu this year, compared with 58 at the same time last year.
Family of 3 homeless after fire in Kaimuki
Three family members were displaced yesterday after a fire destroyed half of their home in Kaimuki.
The fire started at about 11:29 a.m. at 3334 Brokaw St. and was under control at 11:47 a.m. HFD Battalion Chief Jerry Spencer said two bedrooms were destroyed in the blaze.
The American Red Cross is assisting the family with living arrangements. The cause of the fire and damage estimate to the home have yet to be determined.