OIP director Kondo to join PUC
The director of the state Office of Information Practices, which oversees the state's open records and meetings laws, is leaving to become a member of the Public Utilities Commission, state officials said.
Les Kondo will move into his position at the PUC next month, said commission Chairman Carl Caliboso, declining to comment further. Acting Gov. James Aiona signed Kondo's appointment letter on Thursday, which made it effective immediately, said Corrie Heck, a communications officer at the Governor's Office.
Kondo declined to comment on his new appointment, preferring to wait until a public announcement by the Governor's Office.
Kondo was appointed to the OIP in February 2003. Before serving as director, he was a partner in the law firm Chun & Nagatani.
Under Kondo's direction, the Office of Information Practices oversaw several contentious cases involving the public release of records from government agencies.
Drug case nets guilty plea
An Australian woman pleaded guilty Thursday to drug conspiracy, money laundering and forfeiture charges.
Federal prosecutors said Ai Hang Thi Hyde, 35, also known as Kim Hyde, forfeits $1.068 million that was in her business bank accounts and were the proceeds of drug dealing.
Hyde faces a mandatory 10-year prison term and could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Hyde traveled to the mainland to deliver money for drugs and arranged for others to receive parcels containing methamphetamine from California.
Her co-defendant, Ryan Yukio Shinjo, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges. He is to be sentenced Nov. 1.
Hyde is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 15 before Judge Helen Gillmor.
Takitani scholars to be honored
Seniors from 59 high schools will receive scholarships today at the 15th Annual Takitani Scholarship Awards Luncheon.
The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation Inc. will present $88,000 in scholarships to seniors from public and private high schools during a ceremony from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Waialae Country Club. Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona will be the keynote speaker.
Mamoru and Aiko Takitani founded Hawaiian Host Inc., manufacturer of Hawaiian Host chocolates. Since 1993, the foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships.
Volunteers sought for Flavors
More than 1,000 volunteers are needed to help with the first annual Flavors of Honolulu fundraiser, formerly known as the Taste of Honolulu, June 29-30 and July 1 next to Honolulu Hale.
All proceeds from the food and entertainment event, usually attended by tens of thousands annually, benefit Abilities Unlimited, aka Winners at Work Inc., a nonprofit organization that puts people with disabilities in the work force. Volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt, three admission tickets and other gifts. Go to www.abilitiesunlimitedhi.org for a registration form or call 532-2100 for more information.
Visitor Aloha Society offers training
The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii is holding a free volunteer training session next week for people interested in becoming Ambassadors of Aloha for its organization.
The training session will be held next Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Executive Board Room at the Hawaii Convention Center. Participants will qualify as Ambassador of Aloha volunteers after completing the course.
The nonprofit organization will train volunteers to deal with visitors who need assistance in times of emergency while visiting Oahu.
VASH is particularly in need of volunteers who speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, German or Spanish. Contact President and Executive Director Jessica Lani Rich at 926-8274 by Tuesday to reserve a seat.
The mission of VASH is to share the aloha spirit with visitors who have been victims of a crime or other adversities, and to provide follow-up assistance.
Liliha Street lane closes for replacement of water main
One lane will be closed on Liliha Street between School and North Judd streets when construction begins Monday to replace an 80-year-old water main.
Work is scheduled between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. It will shut down one lane. Excavation work to replace the 12-inch main will begin on North Judd Street.
The Board of Water Supply advises motorists to try alternate routes or use caution when driving in the area.
This is part of the Board of Water Supply's long-term plan to replace old water mains to prevent leaks and emergency repairs. This project should be completed in February 2008.
Police, Fire, Courts
Stabbing suspect held in Nevada
A 33-year-old Big Island man is being held pending extradition from Nevada on a warrant for allegedly stabbing a man in Kona.
Landon Hill, 33, of Kealakekua is in custody in Las Vegas after being arrested on the warrant.
A grand jury indicted Hill on April 10 on charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. The alleged stabbing occurred at Durty Jakes Cafe & Bar on Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona on April 2, 2006.
Big Island authorities said there was an argument, and several people were involved in a fray at 1 a.m.
The 33-year-old victim suffered multiple stab wounds to the back, said police Lt. Robert Wagner.
The warrant also charges Hill with second-degree assault of another man on March 4, 2006.
Fatal accident victim identified
The 24-year-old heavy equipment operator who was killed Thursday in the Kahuku Firing Range was identified as Michael P. Tangaro of Kahuku, the Medical Examiner's Office said.
Tangaro was operating a large rock hauler that flipped onto the driver's side, trapping him inside.
The Medical Examiner's Office said Tangaro died from multiple crush injuries.
Single stab wound slew Kalihi woman
A 63-year-old woman allegedly killed by her husband died of a single stab wound to her chest, according to the city Medical Examiner's Office.
Liwliwa Saoit Barayuga was found dead Wednesday after a family member in their Akina Street home found Barayuga's husband with blood. Police said the husband, who is also the suspect, was found with a wound to his upper torso, and his wrists were slashed.
The husband, identified by neighbors as Victorio Barayuga, was hospitalized in critical condition.
Police spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii said he was uncertain whether the husband had been interviewed, but confirmed that he is still alive.
Teenagers sought in visitor's assault
Big Island police are looking for teenage boys suspected of assaulting and robbing a 23-year-old male visitor on Wednesday.
About 11:30 p.m., the visitor was in Ahalanui Park in Pohoiki in the Puna District when he was assaulted by at least two teenage males who demanded his wallet and fled after getting it.
The victim did not require medical attention.
Vehicle with dog stolen from beach
Big Island police need help in finding the thief or thieves who stole a vehicle with the owner's dog still inside.
A silver Plymouth station wagon was taken from Ahalanui Beach Park in Pohoiki in the Puna District between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The vehicle's owner, a 90-year-old woman, said her female Rottweiler named Ruckus, which has a red collar, was still inside the car when it was taken.
The vehicle was found on fire later that evening in front of the Kalapana Seaview Estates subdivision. The dog has yet to be found.