Maui might face water cutback
Central and South Maui residents and businesses could face a mandatory cutback in water use if they do not voluntarily reduce consumption in response to drought conditions.
The Maui Board of Water Supply voted Wednesday to recommend a mandatory 10 percent reduction like that imposed on Upcountry Maui in June. The board's vote is advisory; the decision is up to Mayor Charmaine Tavares.
"We got about a 5 percent reduction in consumption" after the board's August appeal for a voluntary 10 percent cutback, said Jeff Eng, director of the Maui Department of Water Supply. "We were hoping to see a better effort."
National Weather Service gauges show that Maui has received 40 percent of normal rainfall to date this year, Eng said.
The cutback recommendation applies from Kahului, Wailuku and Paia to Maalaea, Kihei and Makena, covering agricultural and resort businesses as well as residential customers.
Eng said Tavares "wants to see the water department do additional conservation efforts through education."
He said he is also considering recommending laws requiring conservation efforts and plumbing upgrades in old buildings and penalizing those who waste water.
Lot attendant cleared over thefts
A former Cutter Ford lot attendant who maintained he was just doing his job was acquitted Wednesday of charges he drove two sport utility vehicles off the lot for a car theft ring.
Rex Mori was charged with two counts of first-degree theft for driving two Ford Explorers to a location he was directed to by fellow lot attendant Marshall Acopan.
Acopan was sentenced last week to 10 years after pleading guilty to second-degree theft and seven counts of first-degree theft in 2006.
Honolulu police purchased and recovered 29 stolen vehicles including Ford trucks and SUVs with an estimated property value of nearly half a million dollars during the two-year undercover investigation dubbed Operation Seaside.
Deputy public defender Ed Aquino said Mori was delivering cars from the Cutter Ford lot to the Mitsubishi lot when he was told by Acopan to move two Ford Explorers.
"He thought he was just doing his job," Aquino said.
When Acopan later handed him an envelope of money, he did not understand what it was for, set it aside and forgot about it because he was preoccupied with a funeral, Aquino said.
Island Fresh festival set for today
Cooking demonstrations by local chefs, a large farmers' market and health information booths will highlight the Island Fresh Food Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in Kakaako Gateway Park.
The Hawaii Medical Service Association is hosting the free event to encourage families to eat a healthy diet.
Participants will learn about fresh local produce and sample cooking of these chefs: Frank Chun from Xpress Chefs; Angie Koclanes from Umeke Market Natural Foods & Deli; Jiva Segaran of India Cafe; Teddy Wells, actor on TV show "Lost," from Tropical Smoothie Cafe; and Rebecca Robison from Licious Dishes.
Sugarland Farms will have a watermelon eating contest. Games, activities and the TumbleBus will be available in a Keiki Pavilion.
The HMSA Island Fresh Festival is supported by Aloun Farms, the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, state Department of Agriculture and Pacific Handcrafters Guild, which also will hold a craft fair in the park.
Meeting on pedestrian safety set
A public forum on pedestrian safety is planned for today at Aliiolani Elementary School.
State and county officials will be at the school cafeteria from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to respond to questions.
Jackie Boland, AARP Hawaii associate state director for community outreach, said, "With 18 dead and countless more injured in 2007 alone, public safety and walkable communities are critical issues that must be kept at the forefront of public discussion."
The forum is sponsored by the Pedestrian Safety Coalition; AARP Hawaii; state Sen. Les Ihara Jr.; state Reps. Calvin Say, Scott Nishimoto, Barbara Marumoto and Tom Brower; and Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man found hiding in Waialua closet
Police arrested a man who was found hiding in a closet inside a Waialua home he allegedly had entered illegally.
At about 6 p.m. Thursday, police said, a 44-year-old man saw the suspect wandering around his private property. Police were called but could not find anyone. Minutes later the homeowner found the suspect hiding in a closet, police said.
The suspect tried to run away but was later arrested on suspicion of unauthorized entry into a dwelling. The suspect refused to give his name or age to police.
Suspect sought in knifepoint robbery
Police are looking for a man in his 20s who allegedly robbed a man at knifepoint in Honolulu.
The suspect confronted the victim at about 3:15 a.m. yesterday using a pocketknife and demanded money, police said.
The suspect fled and no arrests have been made.
Kailua bar incident nets second arrest
A second suspect has been arrested in an attempted-murder case in which an 18-year-old woman allegedly ran over a man outside a Kailua bar.
Police arrested a 21-year-old Honokai Hale man at 8 a.m. Thursday at his home.
On Sept. 9, after a fight erupted in the street near a Kailua nightclub, the suspect told the female driver to run over a man, police said.
The woman allegedly followed his direction and ran over the man, causing injury. She was arrested Monday at her Honokai Hale home on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder.
The victim, a 28-year-old man, was hospitalized but has since been released and is in good condition, police said.
Kau man charged in attack on ex
A 26-year-old Kau man was charged yesterday in connection with the attempted murder and sexual assault of his ex-girlfriend.
John Appleby of Hawaiian Oceanview Estates was charged with attempted second-degree murder, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree assault.
The alleged incident occurred late Sept. 22 and into Sunday morning.
Appleby's ex-girlfriend told police he struck her with a rock, held her against her will, sexually assaulted her and nearly drowned her at Kaalualu Bay in Kau, police said.
Appleby is being held at the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $250,000 bail. He had been held on three contempt charges after his arrest Wednesday.