Zoo regains accreditation
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums renewed the Honolulu Zoo's accreditation through March 2011, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday.
The renewal comes a year after the association denied the zoo's renewal because of maintenance and staffing issues.
"We addressed the issues identified by the accreditation team, cleaned up the facilities and filled empty positions," said Sidney Quintal, director of the Department of Enterprise Services, in a news release.
AZA, the leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums, accredits only those institutions that have achieved rigorous standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation and science, Hannemann said.
The Honolulu Zoo at Kapiolani Park covers 42 acres and houses more than 1,000 animals.
Major construction projects in the last two years include an orangutan habitat, veterinary clinic and Keiki Zoo.
Nimitz, Pali road projects begin
Motorists could face possible lane closures on Pali and Nimitz highways starting Monday, when the state begins two traffic projects that are expected to last until the end of July.
The first project, at Pali Highway and Vineyard Boulevard, will extend by 300 feet the left-turn lane in the southbound direction along Pali Highway.
The state Department of Transportation says the longer stacking lane for motorists turning left onto Vineyard will improve the flow of drivers heading straight on Pali Highway toward downtown.
In a deal with the Outdoor Circle, the state will plant small monkeypod trees on the remaining grassy median to make up for the space cut, said Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
The second project, at Nimitz Highway and Pacific Street, will add a left-turn phasing to the traffic signals to help traffic flow on Pacific Street.
Currently, drivers attempting to turn left from Pacific onto Nimitz must compete with side-street traffic, creating a backup onto Nimitz, the department said.
The cost for both projects will be $1.3 million.
Uranium-testing bill advances
A bill mandating soil sample testing for depleted uranium at Schofield Barracks passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday.
House Bill 1452, Senate Draft 1, will go to conference committee, where the two chambers will work out differences.
The bill as written requires the state Health Department to take soil samples at Schofield Barracks to assess for depleted uranium and report results to the Legislature.
"Our hopes for protecting the public's health now lie with Gov. Lingle," said Marti Townsend, spokeswoman for KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. "The risks posed from the DU discovery last year are serious and need to be assessed."
Groups including the American Friends Service Committee and DMZ-Hawaii/Aloha Aina protested in January 2006 that military officials knew about the presence of some depleted uranium at Schofield as early as September 2005.
Fundraiser set for kids' havens
A "Spring Break Surf Sample Sale" will be held tomorrow to raise funds to help an international organization that rescues sexually abused, abandoned and orphaned children.
Hope Chapel Kapolei is sponsoring the event to help Oahu residents Les and Lynne Ginoza, who moved to Thailand in 2004 to work at the Zoe International Children's Homes. The homes are safe havens for those at risk of being sold into slavery or prostitution.
The sale will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at Barbers Point Elementary School. A $3 admission fee will be charged, with proceeds helping to support the Ginozas' work and the church's Awana Club for children.
The sale will feature a variety of the active-wear from popular name-brand companies such as Billabong, Split, Ezekiel, Faith Riding Co. and Jedidiah. A drawing for a Keoki Custom Surfboard, valued at $500, will be held at the event.
For more information contact Cissy Boyer at (808) 387-2072.
Police, Fire, Courts
Mauna Kea crash victim is identified
Big Island police traffic investigators identified the second victim of a one-car crash Tuesday on Mauna Kea Access Road as 33-year-old Yuko Aizawa of Osaki, Japan.
Aizawa was a back-seat passenger in a red 2006 Jeep multipurpose vehicle heading down Mauna Kea Access Road when the driver lost control, ran down an embankment and overturned, police said. Aizawa was thrown from the vehicle.
Driver Philip Patrick Y.M. Lung, 34, of Honolulu also died in the accident. Lung's wife, Ryoko Lung, 31, was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Man, 27, arrested in robbery of driver
Police arrested a 27-year-old Waipahu man who allegedly robbed a motorist in the middle of a street.
Police said a 30-year-old man was driving his car through Waipahu at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday when he was stopped by a man walking in the middle of the road.
The man demanded money and threatened to hurt the driver, police said.
He fled when he got the money, police said.
Police later found the suspect nearby at Kuhaulua and Kumukula streets and arrested him for investigation of second-degree robbery.
Shopper nabbed in forgery case
Police arrested a 24-year-old Aiea Heights man who allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $100 bill in a business transaction.
They said a 32-year-old employee at an unnamed business had called them Dec. 26 reporting that a man was trying to use a suspicious bill.
Police arrested the suspect on suspicion of outstanding warrants and forwarded the forgery case to the Secret Service.
The man was arrested yesterday on charges of first-degree forgery after police learned the $100 bill was counterfeit.
Police arrest wanted man
A 29-year-old man who eluded police for almost two months was arrested Wednesday after he was found in a stolen car.
He was seen driving the car from the H-1 freeway heading into Kalihi at about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 30. Police attempted to stop the car, but the man abandoned it in the middle of the road and fled.
Police found him on Akepo Lane and arrested him Wednesday on suspicion of auto theft and driving without a license.
Father reports threats by son
A Salt Lake boy allegedly used garden shears to assault his father because he would not buy a new exhaust system for his car.
At about 5:24 p.m. Wednesday, the 56-year-old father reported the incident to police, who arrested the boy on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening.
Police did not give the boy's age.
No one was injured.
Honolulu man held in check forgery
Police have arrested a 24-year-old Honolulu man who allegedly tried to cash a forged check.
They said the man walked into the Moiliili branch of Bank of Hawaii in Star Market at 2470 S. King St. and tried to cash a check. A bank employee who suspected the check was forged confirmed the suspicion with the account holder, a 55-year-old man.
Police arrested the suspect for investigation of second-degree forgery. He was later released without charges.
Man, 36, is held in assault on child
Police arrested a 36-year-old Pearl City man who allegedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend's child.
The juvenile, whose gender was not disclosed by police, told the father about the incident on March 15 and was taken to a sex abuse treatment center for an exam, they said.
Police arrested the mother's boyfriend yesterday on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault.
Fondling of juvenile leads to arrest
Police arrested a 40-year-old Kaneohe man on suspicion of sexual assault for allegedly inappropriately touching a juvenile.
The minor reported the incident had taken place at about 4:45 a.m. Saturday while sleeping. Police would not release information on the age or gender of the victim.
The man was arrested Tuesday and released pending further investigation.