Vital star's a bright sign for Hokule'a
The Hokule'a navigator spotted a key star Friday, an indication that the voyaging canoe is making good progress on its journey to Okinawa from Micronesia.
FOLLOW ALONG» Follow the voyage of Hokule'a at the Polynesian Voyaging Society web site at: www.pvs.hawaii.org
The clouds parted during the night to reveal the star Atria, an indicator of latitude, said Nainoa Thompson, Hokule'a's captain and navigator, in a news release.
Atria points south, and the closer it is to the horizon, the farther north Hokule'a is, Thompson said.
Atria's position indicated the Hokule'a was making "good ground," he said. He added, however, that the tradewinds were weakening.
Crews left Colonia, Yap, Wednesday night after completing a 4,300-mile voyage from Hawaii to Micronesia, delivering the double-hulled canoe Alingano Maisu to Mau Piailug, the mentor of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Big Isle police will get car fleet
The Hawaii County Police Department is moving away from mostly privately owned patrol cars to marked police vehicles in an effort to increase the visibility of patrol vehicles.
Bids are to open April 24 for the initial purchase of 11 sedans and nine four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles, according to county purchasing agent Gilbert Benevides.
The County Council has earmarked $1 million for the purchase, with another $1 million being sought for the fiscal year starting July 1.
The Hilo, Puna, Kona and South Kohala districts will get five cars apiece, while all of the SUVs will be assigned to Puna because of the many dirt roads in the rural area, Assistant Police Chief Paul Ferreira said.
Ferreira said the new vehicles will come with warrantees and probably maintenance contracts to help with upkeep.
Patrol officers are currently paid $599 per month to drive their personal cars while on duty. Other police personnel receive a monthly allowance of $540.
Officers assigned to the county-owned fleet will continue to receive monthly payments in order to help with recruitment efforts, Kaetsu said.
The police department currently subsidizes 368 vehicles and has 49 of its own.
The first Hawaii Superferry vessel, shown here undergoing sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico, was christened Alakai, or "ocean path," yesterday at the Mobile, Ala., shipyard where it was built. CLICK FOR LARGE
First Superferry vessel named
Hawaii Superferry christened its first ferry vessel yesterday at the Mobile, Ala., shipyard where it was built.
The 349-foot vessel was named Alakai, meaning "ocean path," in honor of Hawaii's rich history of navigation and marine travel, a Hawaii Superferry news release said.
The 900-passenger, 250-car ship is set to begin service from Honolulu in July.
During a ceremony that included a traditional Hawaiian blessing, Alabama's governor and the mayor of Mobile declared yesterday "Hawaii Superferry Day."
The Alakai will sail from Alabama to Hawaii via the Panama Canal in May.
Ferry service is expected to begin in July between Maui and Oahu, and between Kauai and Oahu. A second vessel will be added to the service in early 2009.
Star-Bulletin staff and the Associated Press
Police, Fire, Courts
Suspect released in kidnap-rape
Police released a suspect in a brazen kidnapping and rape case in Kalihi without charging him yesterday.
The 45-year-old man was arrested Friday on North School Street on suspicion of two counts of kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and five counts of third-degree sexual assault.
At about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 44-year-old woman's car overheated on Homerule Street. She turned down a man's offer to help. But the man came back and allegedly abducted and raped her before she broke free.
Police released a sketch of the suspect, and the man was arrested Friday after a tip. The man had 64 prior arrests and nine convictions, but none for sex assault.
Police said more investigation is needed and released him at 1 a.m. yesterday.
Kapaa Quarry Road crash victim ID'd
The Medical Examiner's office identified a Kailua man who died in a crash Friday afternoon on Kapaa Quarry Road as Dieter Thate, 64.
Thate was driving a 2005 gray Ford Explorer toward Mokapu Saddle Road when he crossed the center line and smashed into an asphalt tanker trunk about 2:10 p.m. Friday.
Swimmer revived after reef trouble
Lifeguards and paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a swimmer who got into trouble yesterday at Kahala Beach near the Honokai public right-of-way.
The swimmer, a man in his 20s, was walking on a reef with a friend when he ran into trouble, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig. The Fire Department got the call at about 11:30 a.m., Seelig said.
Firefighters requested assistance from ocean safety officials, who used watercraft to reach the swimmer and bring him back to shore.
The man was not responsive, and rescue personnel worked to revive him until paramedics transported him to the hospital, Seelig said. His condition at the hospital was unavailable yesterday, Seelig said.
2 boys arrested in theft of pickup
Two juveniles were arrested late Friday night after allegedly stealing a pickup truck.
Witnesses saw one of the boys jump in the cab of a 21-year-old man's pickup truck in the Kuliouou neighborhood.
Officers stopped the suspects as they arrived at one of their homes.
Big Isle grass fire scorches 2 acres
Big Island firefighters responded to a grass fire that burned about two acres.
At about 9:30 Friday night, firefighters arrived at a fire that was burning about 200 yards of grass south of Kaiminani Drive. The fire was under control by 10 that night.
The cause is unknown at the time. However, fire officials said that similar fires have occurred in the area before.
Man caught with marijuana plants
Kauai police arrested a 41-year-old man for allegedly having dozens of marijuana plants at his home.
About 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, officers from the Kauai Police Department's narcotics unit executed a search warrant at a home in Hanapepe Valley, police said.
Police recovered 13.45 ounces of marijuana, 92 marijuana plants, 28 prescription pills and a handgun.
The suspect was arrested on charges of commercial promotion of marijuana, prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia, promoting a harmful drug and prohibited possession of a gun.