Kim defends support of druggie
HILO » Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, known for his tough stance against crystal methamphetamine use, is being criticized for writing a letter of support for a convicted drug dealer.
Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier said Kim was sending a "mixed message" by railing against drugs, then supporting John Desa Jr., who was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison and is the son of former Big Island Assistant Police Chief John Desa.
Kim's letter was included in Desa's pre-sentencing report, which is not a public record.
The mayor said he did not even know the circumstances of the case, nor did he encourage Circuit Judge Glenn Hara to hand down a light sentence.
Kim said he agreed to write the letter at the request of defense attorney Douglas Halsted because he knew Desa had good character from the days when he coached him in youth football.
"One of the things I noticed about John (Jr.) was that he had a softness in him," Kim said.
Skier said the 39-year-old Desa was arrested at his Pahoa apartment in 2005, possessing 0.15 grams of methamphetamine in three separate packages and 0.7 grams of marijuana.
The separate packaging and scales found in Desa's apartment prompted prosecutors to pursue meth-trafficking charges against him. He was convicted by a jury in October.
Chaminade names renovated lab
Chaminade University dedicated a newly renovated laboratory in Henry Hall last week, naming it Frear Laboratory in recognition of a donation by the Mary D. and Walter F. Frear Trust.
Built in 1927, Henry Hall has housed classrooms, a chapel, an Army hospital and science labs. The original laboratory area that is now Frear Laboratory was constructed 38 years ago.
The Mary D. and Walter F. Frear Trust donated $250,000 for the new laboratory, the university said in a news release.
Walter Frear, a former territorial governor, and his wife, Mary Dillingham, established their trust in 1936 to provide funds for educational, literary and social welfare purposes.
Women's health seizes the day
A Women's Health Fair will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at Beretania Community Park, 1290 Aala St., to celebrate "Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day."
Free and confidential education, counseling and testing services will be offered for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted diseases.
For more information, call Nancy Partika, executive director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii, at 951-5805, or Nandar Aung at 944-6135.
Fisherman's efforts honored
Big Island resident Gene VanderHoek was honored recently by the Billfish Foundation for his efforts to conserve the billfish species throughout the 2006 competition year.
VanderHoek was recognized for his catch-and-release efforts while offshore fishing for marlin and spearfish in the Pacific Ocean, the Billfish Foundation said in a news release.
"The success of the Billfish Foundation's efforts to conserve billfish and other large pelagic species relies heavily on the volunteer participation of captains, anglers, and mates in our Tag and Release Program," Ellen Peel, foundation president, said in the release. "Gene VanderHoek is a great example of the conservation efforts being done by Hawaii's residents."
The foundation's annual tag-and-release competition contributes significant data for scientists and decision-makers about billfish numbers, movements, growth and other factors critical in understanding the species and its management, according to the group.
On the Net: www.billfish.org
Police, Fire, Courts
Man, 44, arrested in child sex assault
Police arrested a 44-year-old downtown Honolulu man Saturday after he allegedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend's child.
The alleged assault happened between 3 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Makaha. Police said the young victim told police that the suspect was the boyfriend of the juvenile's mother.
Later that day, police arrested the 44-year-old man near the 84-600 block of Kepue Street in Makaha on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault.
Knife threat leads to man's arrest
Police arrested a man in Waikiki over the weekend after he allegedly pulled a knife on a 16-year-old girl who refused to shake his hand.
The 19-year-old man was intoxicated when he approached the girl and tried to talk to her after 11 p.m. Saturday, police said.
When the girl ignored him and refused to shake his hand, he pulled out a folding knife, opened it and swore at her, police said. He then walked away.
Police found the man nearby and arrested him for investigation of first-degree terroristic threatening.
Police catch up to stolen car, dog
Two men were arrested Saturday night in Moiliili after they were spotted driving a stolen car and having a stolen, pure-breed dog.
A woman called police at about 7:35 p.m. saying she saw the man driving a vehicle that she knew had been stolen. When police stopped the car, they found a passenger holding the show dog.
Police arrested the 40-year-old driver for investigation of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and the 62-year-old passenger for investigation of second-degree theft.
Juvenile nabbed in robbery attempt
Police arrested a juvenile after he or she allegedly threatened two people with a knife in Kapolei.
Sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Saturday, police said, the suspect threatened a 40-year-old man and a 43-year-old man with a knife.
Police said the suspect demanded money and fled in the 43-year-old man's vehicle.
Police arrested the juvenile on suspicion of first-degree robbery, first-degree terroristic threatening and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
Blaze destroys Kauai classroom
An early-morning fire destroyed a portable classroom yesterday at Wilcox Elementary School on Kauai, police said.
No one was injured. Other school buildings were not damaged by the fire.
Officials are still investigating what sparked the blaze, which caused more than $100,000 in damage to the 1,050-square-foot wooden classroom and its contents.
Firefighters from the Lihue and Kalaheo stations responded to a 5:23 a.m. alarm. The fire was put out by 1:16 p.m.
Anyone with information about the fire can call police at 241-1711.