Casey wants Army to grow faster
A top general used a visit to Schofield Barracks Saturday to call for accelerated plans for a larger Army.
Gen. George Casey, the Army's new chief of staff, said he wants to speed up by two years a plan to increase the nation's active-duty soldiers by 65,000.
The Army has set 2012 as its target date for the force expansion. But Casey said he told his staff to have the soldiers ready earlier.
"I said, 'That's too long. Go back and tell me what it would take to get it done faster,'" Casey said in an interview.
The general said he would like to see the Army move forward the target date to 2010. His staff has submitted a proposal for the accelerated time line, but Casey said he has not approved the plan yet.
Casey, who became the Army chief of staff on April 12 after serving as the top U.S. commander in Iraq for 2 1/2 years, visited the islands for a few days during a Pacific region tour to talk with soldiers and their families. His agenda includes Japan, South Korea and Alaska.
The general told a meeting of soldiers' wives and husbands at Schofield Barracks that the Army was stretched and would be until the additional troops were trained and equipped.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey shook hands with the spouses of military personnel Saturday after participating in a question-and-answer session while visiting Schofield Barracks.
Iolani Palace upgrade budgeted
Iolani Palace will be getting new air conditioning and climate control improvements that are estimated to cost $5.4 million, state officials said earlier this month.
Initially, $900,000 will be used for the design and construction of energy-efficient climate control improvements and mold damage remediation, the officials said.
The remaining $4.5 million is included in Gov. Linda Lingle's budget request for fiscal year 2008.
Planning and design phases are to begin in September.
Built by King David Kalakaua in 1882, Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It housed Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani.
Attorney oversight board seeks applicants
The Nominating Committee of the Hawaii Supreme Court is looking for applicants to fill six vacancies on the Disciplinary Board.
The three-year terms begin on July 1.
Duties for the volunteer positions include overseeing the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates allegations of attorney misconduct and incapacity, and recommending action.
Deadline to apply is May 15. Send resume and letter to Gayle J. Lau, Chair of Nominating Committee, Supreme Court of Hawaii, P.O. Box 26436, Honolulu, HI 96825.
Takayama named PR director for UH
» Gregg Takayama
, a former newspaper and television reporter, has been appointed director of communications in the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He formerly was director of public relations at UH's John A. Burns School of Medicine since 2005. From 1978, Takayama served for 13 years as press secretary to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in Washington, D.C.
» Island Insurance Foundation gave the third increment of a gift totaling $60,000 to the Polynesian Voyaging Society since the Hokule'a began planning in 2004 for its current voyage to Micronesia and Japan. The funds were used to support the voyage and an educational gallery exhibit called "Navigating Cultural Connections" now on display at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
» Hawaii Public Radio exceeded its goal of $657,000 by $3,690 at its spring fundraiser this month. HPR received a record-breaking 3,918 pledges for donations to keep its radio programs going for the next six months.
Police, Fire, Courts
Arrest made after scissors attack
A 33-year-old man allegedly cut a 47-year-old man with a pair of scissors yesterday during an argument in Chinatown.
The suspect cut the older man on both arms in front of 133 N. Hotel St. at about 8:15 a.m., police said.
The victim was taken to the hospital in stable condition, while police arrested the suspect for investigation of second-degree assault.
2 men are wanted in assault attempt
Big Island police released drawings of two men wanted for allegedly attempting to sexually assault a young girl on Wednesday in the Puna district.
The girl was able to fight off her attackers after four men in a white four-door sedan followed her into Hawaiian Paradise Park on Kaloli Drive and tried to sexually assault her in the bushes, police said.
One man is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with short-cropped hair, brown skin, brown eyes and a discolored right eye. He had a Spanish accent and was wearing a long-sleeved white shirt with black lettering on the sleeve and blue jeans.
The other man is also 5 feet 5 inches tall, with short black and brown hair combed back, brown eyes with a small scar near his left eye. He was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and black surf shorts with red lettering.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Benton Bolos at 961-8883 or the police at 935-3311. Anonymous callers may contact CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.
Cause of Hilo fire under investigation
The Big Island Fire Department extinguished a fire Saturday night at a vacant home at 815-A Kapiolani St. in Hilo.
Firefighters found a mattress burning in the bedroom and are still investigating the cause of the fire.
The first fire unit arrived at the house, which is owned by the state, at 5:50 p.m. and had the fire extinguished 10 minutes later.
The loss is estimated at $250.
Man, 18, arrested with stolen vehicle
Police arrested an 18-year-old Kaneohe man yesterday for allegedly stealing a woman's vehicle Friday from the Windward City Shopping Center.
An officer saw a vehicle matching the description of the 24-year-old woman's stolen vehicle and, upon checking the license plates, found it had been reported stolen.
The officer stopped the man on Makaleha Street in Kaneohe and arrested him on suspicion of operating a stolen vehicle.
3 rescued from sinking boat
The Honolulu Fire Department and Kaneohe Marine Corps rescued three people yesterday off a sinking boat just outside the sand bar in Heeia State Park in Kaneohe.
The Fire Department received a distress call at 9 a.m. yesterday. At least two rescue boats responded, along with an aircraft and two fire engines.
The Fire Department also contacted the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, which had personal watercraft to rescue the three on board.