Hanauma re-opening depends on jellyfish
City officials will check Hanauma Bay for jellyfish this morning before deciding whether to open it to the public at 7 a.m.
The bay was closed for a second day yesterday after more than 20 box jellyfish washed up on shore. The stinging creatures were found before the bay opened.
On Thursday, the bay was closed at 10 a.m. after 15 to 18 swimmers reported being stung.
Officials have said the shape of the bay traps jellyfish where people swim, and that swimmers might be getting stung repeatedly by the same jellyfish.
Man admits owning child porn
A former civilian employee of the U.S. Army at Schofield Barracks admitted possessing more than 10,000 still and moving images of child pornography that he downloaded onto his computer.
Robert P. Moser, 60, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Thursday to one count of possessing child pornography. His arrest rose out of three separate national investigations by Immigration Customs Enforcement into Web sites offering child pornography.
Federal agents obtained a search warrant for his Wahiawa home and found a computer and electronic storage media containing the 10,000 images.
Moser faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,00 fine and a term of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Neither Moser, who remains free on bail while awaiting sentencing on Aug. 2, nor his attorney could not be reached for comment.
The same federal investigation also resulted in a former Lahainaluna teacher pleading guilty March 29 to possessing child pornography. Christian Blackard Cornwell, 34, admitted in court that he possessed computers and compact discs on Sept. 11, 2006, that he knew contained child pornography. He said he downloaded the images from the Internet and saved them on the CDs.
He also faces up to 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and a term of supervised release when sentenced Aug. 27.
Papaya virus spreads to Lanai
A plant virus that has threatened papaya crops on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island has spread to Lanai.
A state agriculture official found papaya ringspot virus on plants at a commercial papaya farm on the island. Further investigation revealed that it is widespread in Lanai City back yards and a community garden, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
There is no cure for the virus, which stunts plant growth and causes the fruit to become deformed and inedible, according to a department news release. The disease is spread by aphids.
The state will hold a community meeting on Lanai to help residents identify the virus. Symptoms include yellowing of the top leaves, shoestring-looking leaves and ringspots on the fruit.
Agricultural scientists recommend that plants be dug out and destroyed. They advise people not to transport papaya plants from infected to uninfected areas.
The virus is not harmful to humans, even if affected fruit is eaten, according to the scientists.
In the 1990s, the virus devastated the commercial papaya industry on the Big Island, where 90 percent of the fruit crop is grown. It was found on Maui in 2002.
Police, Fire, Courts
Police investigate alleged abuse
KAILUA-KONA » Big island police are investigating a report that a male teacher at Kealakehe High School in Kona allegedly had sexual contact with a female student.
The report was made this week and the investigation is expected to be concluded next week, Lt. Glenn Uehana said. None of the details of the alleged event can be released, he said. If evidence indicates a crime was committed, the case will be referred to the prosecutor's office.
Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen said the teacher was put on "department-directed leave" with pay.
The department is also investigating to determine whether any policies were violated, Knudsen said. Sexual contact by teachers with students is prohibited, regardless of the student's age and whether the student engaged in the contact was willing, he said.
Lanai suspect allegedly had 43 IDs
WAILUKU » A Honolulu man is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on forgery charges after he was allegedly found with 43 Hawaii driver's licenses with 35 different names, addresses and Social Security numbers at the Lanai Airport last month.
Transportation Security Administration baggage screeners discovered the IDs on March 29 when searching the duffel bag of Shane James Deighan, 33, after the name on the bag, "Robert Folsom," didn't match one of the IDs, Maui County Deputy Prosecutor John Tam said.
Deighan fled from the airport, but Lanai police tracked him to a residence on Lanai Avenue the next morning.
Police seized 19 credit cards, of which 11 matched one of the Hawaii driver's licenses, three other Hawaii driver's licenses, two Texas driver's licenses, three Social Security cards, two blank checks, one military identification card and a Canadian birth certificate.
Police also found a laptop computer, laminate material, Exacto knives and paper that could have been used to forge some of the identifications, Tam said. "He had everything but the printer," Tam said.
Police matched the personal information found in one notebook to an unidentified Maui County police lieutenant.
Deighan, also known as Ethan Francoise James, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information and several counts of forgery, including criminal possession of a forgery device, sale or manufacture of deceptive identification documents and credit card forgery.
He was being held on $50,000 bond at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
According to court records, Deighan was placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty to second-degree forgery in a 2001 case on Oahu.
Suspect found after 2003 escape
A man who allegedly escaped from a transitional home four years ago was found Thursday after a traffic stop.
In 2003, the suspect was transferred from the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility and ordered to stay at a transitional home in Kailua until he turned 19, police said.
On March 24, 2003, shortly before he reached 19, he left the home without permission, police said. The suspect, now 22, was stopped for a traffic violation Thursday afternoon in Kailua, and was arrested on suspicion of second-degree escape.
Man, 37, accused in assault on 2 girls
Authorities charged a 37-year-old Waimanalo man with sexually assaulting two teenage girls at his home Tuesday.
David E. Pili Jr. was charged Thursday with two counts of third-degree sexual assault. Police said the alleged sexual assaults occurred at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday. Pili is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Suspect surrenders in bus-stop assault
A 20-year-old Waianae man suspected of assaulting two men, including a 57-year-old wheelchair-bound man, surrendered to police yesterday.
On Jan. 15 at about 10 p.m., a man allegedly struck a 39-year-old man in the head with a baton while the victim was waiting at a bus stop in Waianae, police said.
The suspect then punched a second man who was seated in a wheelchair, police said. The suspect was released pending investigation.