Palace tours free for kamaaina
Isle residents can enjoy free tours of Iolani Palace and free parking on the palace grounds on Kamaaina Day, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On a first-come, first-serve basis, anyone with a Hawaii state ID or Hawaii driver's license will receive a complimentary ticket. Without a Hawaii ID, the cost is $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. The palace is the last residence of the king and queens who ruled Hawaii. Call 522-0832 for information.
UH to re-evaluate Rainbow Shuttle
Low ridership is causing the University of Hawaii at Manoa to re-evaluate a new shuttle service that is supposed to help dorm residents get to and from shopping, dining and entertainment areas in Waikiki, Ala Moana, Ward Centre and Restaurant Row.
Only 144 students have used the shuttle service in the first 16 days since the service was re-started on Jan. 8 for the spring semester, said UH-Manoa spokesman Jim Manke.
The university began offering the Rainbow Shuttle service on Aug. 24. It runs from 4 p.m. until midnight and is now a seven-night-a-week service.
At first the shuttle was free, but UH-Manoa began charging $20 for a semester pass in October. Students who have purchased a city U-pass to ride TheBus can also use the shuttle.
Ridership dropped off significantly when the fee was imposed, Manke said.
It costs about $2,500 a week to run the shuttle and "right now it's not at all cost-effective," he said.
A survey of dorm residents taken before the winter break indicated students felt the shuttle service should run later in the evening beyond midnight. Students also didn't want to pay the $20 fee, Manke said.
Bill seeks expanded probe of internments
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has introduced a bill to create a commission to investigate the relocation, internment and deportation of Latin Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II and the late 1940s.
"They were taken from their homes in countries such as Brazil, Panama and Peru, stripped of their passports, involuntarily brought to the United States and interned in American camps," Inouye said in a news release issued by his Washington office last week.
"They apparently had only one purpose on U.S. soil -- to be used for prisoner exchanges with Japan," he said.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, said the panel will conduct a thorough examination of the largely unknown aspect of the internment of some 2,300 Latin Americans of Japanese ancestry.
"We are a great nation, and we should not be afraid of the lessons we can learn from the dark chapters of our history," Akaka said.
"The lessons of history can be painful," he said. "But that pain can also strengthen our nation and our commitment to its democratic ideals, which include equal justice for all."
The other co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Robert Bennett, R-Utah; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
The nine-member commission would be able to recommend remedies, if any, based on what it uncovers.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of about 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry. They received a formal apology from President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Police, Fire, Courts
Forest fire on Haleakala is 30 percent contained
A brush fire on Maui was about 30 percent contained on the upper slopes of Haleakala, Maui County officials said yesterday.
The fire started Tuesday in densely packed forest of pine, eucalyptus, and native forest trees in the Polipoli Forest Reserve at elevations between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.
More than 50 firefighters, including reinforcements from Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, are fighting the blaze, with three helicopters and seven bulldozers, a Maui County spokesman said.
Officials said there is minimal threat to homes and structures.
Equipment movement has been hampered by the elevated terrain and dense forest, and cloudy conditions that make it difficult for the helicopters to fly.
The Waipoli access road into Polipoli Park remains closed to the public. County officials are asking residents who have respiratory conditions to move to areas not affected by smoke, as smoke and ash are being carried to the upcountry areas.
21-year-old driver of stolen car arrested
Police arrested a 21-year-old man after he was caught driving an allegedly stolen vehicle.
At about 6 a.m. Friday, a police officer heading toward Farrington Highway and Kamokila Boulevard, where a 24-year-old woman had reported her car stolen, saw the car traveling in the opposite direction on Fort Barrette Road, police said. The officer made a U-turn and arrested the suspect on a charge of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
Woman accused of stealing jewelry
A 29-year-old woman was arrested Friday for burglarizing a McCully home last month, a crime apparently witnessed by a babysitter.
Police said the woman had entered the home without permission at 4 p.m. Dec. 20 while a babysitter was watching the 45-year-old resident's granddaughter.
The woman entered the resident's bedroom and the babysitter saw the woman remove jewelry from a jewelry box, slip it into her pants pocket and leave, police said.
The suspect was released pending further investigation after her arrest Friday on suspicion of first-degree burglary.
Mililani man arrested in sex assault of teen
A Mililani man was arrested Thursday night for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl.
The girl, whose age was not released, reported being sexually assaulted by the 45-year-old suspect between November and Jan. 20.
The man was arrested on charges of first-degree, second-degree and fourth-degree sexual assault.
3 suspects sought in robbery of couple
Police are looking for three men, each about 20 years old, who allegedly robbed a Japanese couple Thursday night in Waikiki.
One of the suspects confronted the couple, a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, and spoke to them in Japanese, while the other two suspects approached them from behind, police said.
The first suspect told them to leave their bags and one of the three men had a knife, police said.