COURTESY TO THE STAR-BULLETIN / 2004
This brown tree snake, about 3 feet long, was found in a bottle at the Guam airport departure security checkpoint. An inspection program to keep the snakes from invading Hawaii has been re-funded. CLICK FOR LARGE
$1.7M maintains snake program
The Air Force has given $1.7 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to continue monitoring for brown tree snakes on Hawaii-bound planes leaving Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office.
Brown tree snakes would wreak havoc on Hawaii's fragile environment, Inouye said.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will continue inspecting aircraft and cargo for fiscal year 2007, ending Sept. 30.
Inouye vowed to work with the Department of Defense to continue the program, which faced termination from a lack of funding. Additional funding to continue inspections at Navy facilities is expected soon, Inouye's release said.
Council OKs rezoning in Kaneohe
Kamehameha Schools' request to rezone two acres of its vacant land in Haiku Village in Kaneohe for a preschool won approval from the City Council yesterday.
The Council voted 8-1 to change the zoning to residential from preservation with Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall, who represents the area, voting "no."
Haiku Village residents opposed the rezoning because they wanted to continue to use the space as a community park. Some residents were also skeptical of Kamehameha's plans, saying they thought the preschool was a guise to get rezoning for homes or other purposes.
In exchange for the zone change, Kamehameha Schools agreed to keep two-thirds of the parcel open for "passive recreational" uses for residents and promised to use the property only for educational purposes.
But at least one Haiku Village resident, lawyer Mark Beatty, testified that some residents still unhappy with the zoning change could file legal action.
Kamehameha wants to relocate its temporary preschool, situated in a parking lot between Windward Mall and Heeia Elementary, to the new Haiku site, which is planned to accommodate a little more than 100 children.
Bill 55 (2006) now goes to Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Cancer Society wins $12,000 in grants
The American Cancer Society of Hawaii
received $10,000 from the Tai Up Yang Fund
of the Hawaii Community Foundation
, and $2,000 from the Mabel I. Wilcox Foundation Trust
The Yang grant is the second installment of a three-year $30,000 pledge to support the society's Mission Delivery and Mission Support Restructuring Program, which pertain to educational/cancer detection programs.
The Wilcox funds will go toward the "Look Good ... Feel Better" program on Kauai to help patients feel more confident about their appearance and self-esteem.
Junior Achievement of Hawaii received $5,000 from Ameriprise Financial, a corporate provider of workplace financial planning.
Waste Management of Hawaii gave $5,000 to nonprofit Nani 'O Waianae, one of 15 organizations across the nation chosen for Waste Management Target City Awards. The Waianae organization also participated in the Great Hawaii Cleanup last Saturday, part of the Keep America Beautiful campaign, with the help of Waste Management of Hawaii.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann also recently awarded Nani 'O Waianae the 2007 Good Neighborhood Everyday Environmental Team Leadership Award.
"Shining Stars" runs Monday through Thursday.
Police, Fire, Courts
Mango thief gets year in prison
A 44-year-old man caught stealing mangos last year was sentenced yesterday morning to a year in prison.
In addition, Sinfroso Villegas was sentenced to five years' probation, after pleading guilty to a second-degree theft charge. Villegas and Marguerite Emilyon, 41, were caught stealing about 300 pounds of mangos from a Mokuleia farm on Aug. 3.
The charge against Emilyon was dropped. She was in the truck used in the theft. Deputy Public Defender Steve Nichols said he was disappointed with the sentence and that it was "a little harsh," considering Emilyon received no jail time.
Villegas' sentencing is the first under stricter state laws that make it easier for felony prosecution for agriculture-related thefts. Previous law stated a felony charge can be brought in damages from $1,500 to $19,999, but the new law passed last year brought the range down to $500 to $1,499.
Man arrested after assault victim dies
Police arrested a 21-year-old Nanakuli man yesterday for investigation of second-degree murder after a 34-year-old North Carolina man he allegedly punched died two days later.
Police said the visitor had arrived April 22 in Honolulu, rented a car and drove out to the Leeward Coast where he attended a luau.
After the luau, he drove along the Leeward Coast to find a beach where he could camp, police said.
The man stopped at a beach park where he saw other campers, and the 21-year-old man confronted him and allegedly punched him without provocation on the left ear at 11:56 p.m., police said. The visitor fell, police said.
He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died two days later, police said.
Police investigating the case later identified the suspect and arrested him yesterday morning at his home.
Man allegedly robbed 5 teens
Police arrested a 20-year-old Kaneohe man yesterday who allegedly robbed five male teenagers Friday at a Kaneohe gas station.
Police said the man threatened to use force against the teens, ranging in age from 15 to 18, to get their property. The alleged robbery occurred at 7:55 p.m. Friday at the Aloha Gas station at Kamehameha Highway and Kahuhipa Street.
The man was later identified, found at his home on Kahuhipa Street and arrested at 8 a.m. yesterday on suspicion of five counts of second-degree robbery.
Car damage leads to man's arrest
Police arrested a 19-year-old man who allegedly damaged a car that belonged to another man he found with his wife.
At about 11:30 Tuesday night, the suspect found his wife at the Mililani home of a 23-year-old man, police said. The suspect then damaged the man's car and fled, police said.
About an hour later, the suspect turned himself in at the Wahiawa police station, where he was arrested on suspicion of criminal property damage.
Body is identified as Virginia man's
The Medical Examiner's Office has identified a man whose body was found floating off Waikiki on April 25 as Waymen Justus, 28, of Ruckersville, Va.
Police said Justus might have fallen off the wall or dived off the reef. The Medical Examiner's Office said Justus drowned.
Scuba diver dies while seeking fish
OCEAN VIEW, Hawaii » Hawaii County fire rescue personnel recovered the body of a missing scuba diver 200 yards off the Kau Coast south of Kona at 2:05 p.m. yesterday. The name of the 45-year-old victim was withheld pending notification of relatives.
The man's diving partner at Pohue Bay reported him overdue at noon Tuesday. Two Fire Department helicopters and one from the Coast Guard, plus divers in a rescue boat, searched without success the first day. The partner said the men were diving for aquarium fish.
Abandoned house destroyed in blaze
Fire destroyed an abandoned house in Opihikao, in the Puna District on the Big Island, on Tuesday.
Fire crews were dispatched at 7:12 p.m. and found the structure fully engulfed in flames. The only access to the house was a 300-foot trail off Opihikao Road, according to a news release. Officials said the house was possibly used by squatters.
No one was hurt. Damage was estimated at $10,000.