Day of mourning in Hawaii
Gov. Linda Lingle proclaimed today as a day of mourning in Hawaii for the victims of the mass killings at Virginia Tech.
The proclamation, signed yesterday, urged island residents "to stand in solidarity with the people of Virginia by mourning the loss of innocent life and expressing sympathy to the victims' families and friends."
"The people of Hawaii join their fellow citizens in their grief," the proclamation said.
No-contest plea in fatal crash
A Los Angeles man has admitted to negligently causing a single-car crash on Likelike Highway three years ago that killed three relatives.
Jonathan M. Fornua, 22, pleaded no contest as charged yesterday before Circuit Judge Derrick Chan to three counts of second-degree negligent homicide in the deaths of Joseph Naulu, 13, Mary Filimoehala, 18, and Winnie Naulu, 26, on April 14, 2004.
Fornua was driving the group to the wedding rehearsal dinner of an aunt who was to be married the next day when the rental sport utility vehicle struck the sloped end of a barrier at the entrance to Wilson Tunnel, launched into the air and flipped over at least once. Fornua and three other passengers were injured but survived.
Defense attorney David Hayakawa said Fornua, his family and extended family "are devastated by this, and the reason for the extremely quick change of plea is because he wanted to take responsibility for his actions and help everyone move on as best as possible."
A crash expert and data from a "black box" in the Chevy Trailblazer -- similar to black boxes on aircraft -- concluded that the SUV was going at least 70 mph five seconds before the crash, said Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Puu. The speed limit in that area is 35 mph.
Fornua was allowed to remain free pending his July 11 sentencing.
Vigil honors Virginia Tech victims
Prayers and reflections about spiritual healing for people affected by the violence at Virginia Tech will be presented at a vigil Sunday near the University of Hawaii campus. The 7 p.m. Candlelight Prayer Vigil at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1404 University Ave., is open to the public. Music, spiritual readings and words of support from church and community members will be offered for the UH campus community as well as the Virginia Tech victims and their mourners.
HGEA units approve new contract
Six of seven Hawaii Government Employees Association bargaining units have given overwhelming approval to a new two-year contract.
Units 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 13, totaling 26,435 employees, voted from 95 percent to 99 percent to accept the contract for the period from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2009. They will get 4 percent in each of two years.
Ratification meetings were held statewide last week.
HGEA Unit 9 for registered professional nurses is involved in a separate arbitration process.
Hospital air conditioning funded
The state will spend $6.6 million to replace the air conditioning system at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
"As the key medical service provider in Maui County, it is critical that Maui Memorial be able to address the needs of Maui residents," Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday. "In a hospital setting, the air-conditioning systems are a critical component of patient care."
Design work for the project will start next month. Completion is anticipated in December 2008.
Coming this weekend in your Star-Bulletin:
Oahu school groups and individual admirers will head for Maui to hear the Dalai Lama speak next week, but his visit is not a major attraction for members of Hawaii's Japanese-based Buddhist denominations.
The Star-Bulletin's revamped Sunday comics section debuts, in a new tabloid format, with new funny faces. Plus, two local strips, drawn by two of Hawaii's best cartoonists, join the lineup.
Business: Puna is Hawaii's new star for real estate investment potential. The caveat: Buyers can still find affordable land and homes with ocean frontage or views, but they had better be prepared to pay higher insurance and shop around for their mortgages. Also in the section: An antiques enthusiast in Ohio wants to convert a 1948 aircraft into a bed-and-breakfast -- much to the chagrin of town officials and neighbors.
Police, Fire, Courts
Copter carrying HPD officers lands hard
Engine trouble forced a helicopter carrying Honolulu police officers apparently looking for marijuana patches to make a hard landing at about 2:15 p.m. yesterday at Turtle Bay.
Four people were on board, and only one suffered minor injuries, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.
"We're going to do an investigation because there was substantial damage" to the helicopter, which landed on or near a helipad in the area, said Allen Kenitzer, FAA spokesman.
The aircraft was a Hughes 369D helicopter, owned by K&S Helicopters Inc. of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, according to an aircraft number provided by the FAA.
Two police officers, one state Department of Land and Natural Resources official and a pilot were on board the craft, which was contracted by HPD, likely doing marijuana eradication work, a police dispatcher said.
Alleged knife assault leads to arrest
Police arrested a 46-year-old woman after she allegedly threw a large candle at a housemate and then allegedly cut him on the arm with a knife.
Police said that on March 8 the woman and the victim, a 46-year-old man, got into an argument at their Ewa Beach home. Police said the woman threw a large candle at the man, causing a head injury.
The suspect then grabbed a large kitchen knife and cut the man's right arm, police said. She was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree assault.
Police seek pair in theft of TVs
Police arrested one man and are looking for two more who allegedly stole TVs from a Waipahu store in February.
Two men entered the store, at the Waipahu Shopping Plaza, at about 5:15 p.m. Feb. 6, according to police. Both men picked up 32-inch LCD TV sets, left without paying and then loaded the sets into the bed of a waiting pickup truck with a third man in the driver's seat, police said.
The store manager left the store, opened the driver-side door of the truck and confronted the driver, police said. The driver allegedly punched the manager in the face and sped away.
Police arrested the driver, a 33-year-old man, Monday on suspicion of second-degree robbery.
Suspect sought in Puna robbery
Big Island police are searching for a man who robbed a Puna man yesterday morning in Kailua-Kona.
The victim, 21, told police that an acquaintance and her three companions, all men, approached him in a parking lot at Kuakini Highway and Hualalai Road at about midnight. One man punched him in the body and on the head and took $220 in cash, police said.
The suspect is about 20 years old and was wearing a red baseball cap and white T-shirt.
Anyone with information should call Detective Sharlotte Bird at 326-4646, ext. 268, or the Police Department at 935-3311.
Big Isle police earn promotions
Eight Big Island police officers were promoted to detective or sergeant this week and were assigned to West Hawaii.
Sgt. Robert Fujitake Jr. is assigned to the Kau District. Detective Tod Bello is assigned to the Ice Task Force in Kona. Detective Sherry Bird is assigned to the Vice Section in Kona. Detectives Sharlotte Bird, Regino Saludares, Kenneth Quiocho, Greg Yamada and David Araki are assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section in Kona.
The promotions took effect Monday.
Woman arrested in grocery theft
Police arrested a 45-year-old woman for allegedly stealing $339 worth of groceries from a Waimalu supermarket Monday.
Police said the woman walked out of the Waimalu Safeway at 98-1277 Kaahumanu St. with assorted food and grocery items.
Police said all the items were recovered.
The woman was arrested on suspicion of second-degree theft.
Police catch group of robbery suspects
Police arrested five people who allegedly robbed two women in Kahala on Wednesday.
The victims told police that they were robbed of their personal belongings at about 3 p.m. Police did not provide further details.
The suspects fled but patrol officers found them. The officers arrested two juveniles and three women, two of whom are 18 while the other is 19, for investigation of second-degree robbery.