TheBoat has more free parking
Hoping to encourage more commuters to ride TheBoat, the city has made about 40 free parking stalls available in Kapolei for riders.
The lot, located at Kamokila Boulevard and Uluohia Street adjacent to Assaggio Restaurant, will be available for three months thanks to owner James Campbell Co.
Riders can then catch the F-13 shuttle bus to Kalaeloa Pier onto TheBoat, which will take them to Aloha Tower.
Last week, 23 stalls were available at the Kalaeloa Pier terminal for carpool vehicles with three or more people on a first-come, first-served basis.
"It's important to assess how many people will take advantage of the parking stalls," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann yesterday at a news conference. "That's a market we haven't really tested yet."
There has been no true representation of ridership numbers since TheBoat's launch on Sept. 17. The first week had an average of 256 a day. The second week saw ridership at 449 a day as free fares were offered. And last week, when some schools were on fall break, ridership averaged 381 a day.
Leilehua to have siren test
An hour-long siren test is scheduled at Leilehua High School tomorrow afternoon to ensure it is operating at full power and at optimal range.
Twenty-second siren soundings, conducted by the city Department of Emergency Management and the state Civil Defense, will begin at 1:30 p.m.
The Civil Defense purchases and installs the siren, and the city is responsible for monthly testing and emergency activation.
Tax break urged for farmers
City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz introduced legislation last week that would waive property taxes next year for farmers who suffered significant financial loss from a summer wildfire that destroyed more than 7,000 acres in Waialua.
The bill would have the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services determine eligibility for the one-time tax credit, which would apply to land being used for specific agricultural purposes. Vacant land would be excluded.
A resolution also introduced by Dela Cruz urges the state to provide tax relief for these farmers.
Dela Cruz said the state and city need to help the farmers, some of whom have told him they suffered more than $200,000 in damage from the biggest wildfire in recent memory.
The Honolulu Fire Department did not collect information on the number of farmers affected or damage estimates.
The fire was deliberately set Aug. 12, killing livestock and miles of crops, and extinguished about two weeks later, utilizing about a third of HFD's staff and thousands of dollars in resources.
Sunset on the Beach to continue
A popular Waikiki attraction, Sunset on the Beach, will be continuing next year thanks in large part to sponsorship by Tesoro Hawaii, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday.
Tesoro, which sponsored the program last year, will contribute $65,000 to the Waikiki Improvement Association to put on the weekend event that will occur every month.
Sunset on the Beach is free to the public and features movies on a 30-foot screen at Queen's Beach along with entertainment, food and refreshments.
There was a chance in the past that the event would end because of costly bills with the city paying for the setup and cleanup.
Waikiki Improvement Association President Rick Egged said he plans to schedule the sunset events on weekends when other attractions, such as the Pro Bowl, the Sony Open and the Hawaii International Film Festival, are in Honolulu.
Health summit targets Hawaiians
More than 100 Hawaiians and Pacific islanders throughout the Pacific and the mainland are expected to attend a health summit, "Navigating Towards Health and Well Being," today through Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Their goal is to spur a call for action to improve the health status of native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders.
It marks the first time health care professionals, advocates, researchers, policymakers and government representatives will gather to develop methods of improving health care for Hawaiians and Pacific islanders.
Vaka Faletau of the Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Alliance said, "The health summit will engage the native Hawaiian and Pacific islander communities as one voice in advancing a ... health agenda for community and public action for the next decade."
Police, Fire, Courts
Fire damages Big Island home
Fire heavily damaged a house Sunday near Pahoa in lower Puna on the Big Island, according to a Hawaii County Fire Department news release.
Fire crews were called to 14-822 Kapuna Road at about 2:11 p.m. and found a single-story home about half engulfed in flames, the release said.
No one was hurt. Damage was estimated at $125,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Wildfires burn Lanai brush
Lanai firefighters had to battle a second brush fire yesterday shortly after extinguishing one at 11 a.m. that burned 30 acres in the Mahana area.
The second fire was reported at 11:04 a.m. yesterday on Manele Access Road, about three miles from town, Mahina Martin, Maui County public information officer, said in a news release.
The second fire burned about two acres and was approximately two miles from town. That fire was extinguished at 3 p.m.
The first fire began 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Keomoku Road.
Californians held on meth charges
Big Island police announced yesterday that two California men arrested in Mountain View were charged with various drug offenses including conspiracy to conduct methamphetamine trafficking.
Officers with the Hilo Vice Section's Ice Task Force Unit searched a Lehua Street home in the Fern Acres subdivision in Mountain View on Friday and recovered 30 grams of crystal methamphetamine, plastic bags and an empty jar used to hide the drugs, police said.
Police arrested Herman Robles, 30, and Cinilo Sotelo, 47, also known as Cirilo Sotelo-Almazan.
Police also searched a second home on Peck Road in connection with the Lehua Street case. There police found a digital scale, more plastic bags and $2,700 in cash.
Both men were charged with second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence and criminal conspiracy to conduct unlawful methamphetamine trafficking. Bail was set at $150,000 each.
Third person in argument arrested
A 22-year-old man was arrested early yesterday morning after he allegedly assaulted a 25-year-old man who pushed a woman who used racial epithets against him.
The incident occurred at 4:25 a.m. yesterday in Waikiki.
Police said a woman began arguing with the 25-year-old, using "racially inflammatory words," and then "encroached on the victim's personal space."
The 25-year-old then pushed the woman, police said. That was when the 22-year-old, a bystander, stepped in and allegedly put the other man in a submission hold until he fell unconscious, police said. When the younger man let go, the older man fell to the ground face first and might have suffered a broken nose, police said. Police arrested the 22-year-old for investigation of second-degree assault.