STAR-BULLETIN / OCTOBER 2006
Ross Kurizaki, left, and Jensen Puahi watch pitchers warm up prior to last year's Hawaii Winter Baseball League season opener at Hans L'Orange Park. The city is co-sponsoring events there this weekend.
Events will open Winter Baseball
The city will co-sponsor "Sunset at the Ballpark" events tomorrow and Sunday at Hans L'Orange Field in Waipahu to celebrate opening day of the Hawaii Winter Baseball season.
The free events, "Catch the Dream, Waipahu," will include food booths, performances by local bands such as the Royal Hawaiian Band, a Market Place and a Keiki Center.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann will throw the first pitch of the first game at noon tomorrow.
There will be four games played this weekend, starting with the Honu taking on the CaneFires in game one at noon tomorrow and again Sunday. The Sharks will face the BeachBoys at 6 p.m. both days.
Tickets to the games range from $3 to $6.
Defendant innocent in sex assault
A young female victim in an alleged sexual assault case collapsed outside a courtroom yesterday after a jury acquitted the man accused of sexually assaulting her in April 2006 in a Kaneohe parking garage.
An ambulance arrived at Oahu Circuit Court at about 4:20 p.m., and medical personnel rushed to the fourth floor, where the girl had collapsed outside the courtroom of Judge Steven Alm.
The girl was treated, and an older family member was checked out; both were in good condition, according to fire personnel at the scene.
The jury had reached its verdict in the case against Falefuafua Falefuafua, who was tried for allegedly grabbing and touching the then 12-year-old girl in the parking garage of a Kaneohe apartment building on Kahuhipa Street, where they both lived.
He then allegedly covered her mouth and touched her through her clothing while she struggled to get free, a police affidavit said.
He then offered her $6,000 for sex, police said. She screamed and shoved him away, police said.
The jury found Falefuafua not guilty on all charges -- two counts of third-degree sexual assault, criminal solicitation and kidnapping.
Trio to visit trash-to-gas plants
Big Island County Council members will visit waste-to-energy plants on the mainland next month as the county approaches a decision on dealing with its trash.
A procurement committee selected Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. "as having the best proposal" for incinerating about 200 tons per day of East Hawaii nonrecyclable rubbish, said Dixie Kaetsu, Big Island managing director.
The county is in negotiations with the Houston-based company over price and other details of an agreement, Kaetsu said yesterday.
Wheelabrator Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., which operates landfills on the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai.
Wheelabrator operates 16 waste-to-energy plants, according to its company Web site.
The Puuanahulu landfill serving East Hawaii has a year or two of room left, Kaetsu said.
The Hawaii County Council will have to approve any agreement, Kaetsu said.
Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann and members Dominic Yagong and Emily Naeole are expected to visit different mainland waste-to-energy plants operated by the company in October, Kaetsu said.
The Hawaii plant could generate six to seven megawatts of electricity, she said.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man floats on cooler until rescue
A 42-year-old man who was swept to sea while fishing at Opihikao hung onto a cooler that his companions tossed him for flotation until he was rescued by a Fire Department helicopter, officials said.
Mark Wyatt had been fishing Wednesday with a group of people on the shoreline near the graveyard at the bottom of Kamaili Road on the Big Island when he fell into the ocean. Another fisherman used a cell phone to call 911 at 1:55 p.m., and the rescue chopper arrived by 2:17 p.m.
A rescuer pulled Wyatt, who was not injured, into a net, and both were airlifted to shore.
Dead bicyclist ID'd as elder from Ohio
A woman who died Wednesday in a bicycle accident at Haleakala National Park has been identified as 65-year-old Roberta Blake of Amherst, Ohio.
Blake, while on a bike tour with Maui Mountain Cruisers, crossed the center line of the downhill road after a sharp turn and collided with a bicycle tour van from Maui Downhill, according to the park.
Blake had ridden for nine miles when she lost control of her bicycle. She fell or intentionally dropped to the ground before being struck by the van, witnesses told investigators, adding that the driver could not have avoided her.
The park, which is considering new guidelines to reduce accidents at the 10,000-foot volcano, announced yesterday a mandatory safety meeting next week for all seven bicycle tour operators.
Blake was the third bicyclist to die in less than a year during a bike tour at the park.
An elderly man was killed in November after falling off a bicycle, and a 44-year-old woman died in March when she lost control of her bicycle and went off the road.
Van seen in area before house blaze
Big Island police are investigating a fire that heavily damaged a single-story home Wednesday in Pahoa.
A fire investigator found the blaze at the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision home in lower Puna was suspicious in origin.
Numerous residents reported seeing smoke and flames coming from a vacant house.
Fire crews were called to 15-0522 Limu St. just after 1 p.m. Wednesday. No one was living in the house at the time, according to a Hawaii County Fire Department news release.
Damage was estimated at $200,000.
Witnesses told police they saw several men in a faded gold or yellow minivan in the area just before the fire started. Witnesses described one of the men as in his 40s with a dark complexion, black hair and round face. Another was described as in his 20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, with a slim build, dark complexion and short black hair.
The minivan was reportedly a Ford Aerostar with peeling mirror-tinted windows. The van also had a loud exhaust system or possibly no muffler, police said.
Investigators would like to identify and speak with the men.
Anyone with information about the identity or location of the individuals is asked to call Detective Ian Lee Loy at 961- 2381 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.
Man points to ex in theft of truck
Police arrested a 45-year-old woman after her ex-boyfriend reported her as a suspect in a car theft.
A 35-year-old man reported his truck stolen and told officers that he suspected his ex-girlfriend took it, police said.
Officers on traffic enforcement duty Wednesday in Mapunapuna saw a truck speeding and pulled it over, police said.
The driver was identified as the victim's ex-girlfriend, who was arrested on suspicion of auto theft.
Victim accuses boyfriend of attack
Police arrested a 47-year-old man Wednesday for allegedly sexually assaulting and robbing his girlfriend.
Police said the 46-year-old victim was raped at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Ala Moana area. The suspect also took the victim's backpack and punched her when she tried to get it back, police said.
The suspect was later arrested on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree robbery.
Cousin stabbed cousin, police say
Police arrested a 20-year-old woman who allegedly stabbed her cousin in the back Wednesday night.
Police said that at about 8 p.m. the suspect and her 26-year-old female cousin got into an argument at a Wahiawa restaurant.
Police said the cousin left the restaurant and was walking through the parking lot when the suspect came up from behind and stabbed her in the back. The victim was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital by a friend, police said. Her condition was not available.
Witnesses who know the suspect led police to the nearby home, where she was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault.
Cemetery melee injures teenager
A fight broke out at a Nanakuli cemetery across from Nanakuli Elementary School yesterday, sending one boy to the hospital.
The fight occurred on Haleakala Avenue. Police said no arrests were made. Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Services Department, said a 17-year-old boy was taken in serious condition to Hawaii Medical Center West.
Alleged kin-kicker arrested in assault
Police arrested a 26-year-old man who allegedly assaulted and tried to rob a relative in Waikiki.
Police said that on Kalakaua Avenue at about 9:40 Wednesday night, the suspect demanded items from a 24-year-old woman to whom he is related. Police said the suspect kicked the woman.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of second-degree robbery and family abuse.