Waimea, Hilo schools to get fixes
The state will spend $777,000 for new walkways, elevators, ramps and parking stalls at Waimea High School to have the Kauai campus comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the state announced yesterday.
Projects are expected be completed in December 2009, Gov. Linda Lingle said in releasing the funds.
Also, Hilo High School will get $112,000 for fire alarm systems at four buildings. Hilo Annex Buildings A, B, C and D all lack fire alarms. They are used by school administrators, the Hilo Community School for adults, and for meetings and conferences.
The work is expected to be completed in August, according to the state.
Orionid meteors light up weekend
Depending on viewing conditions, people in Hawaii could see up to 20 to 40 meteors an hour during the peak of the Orionid Meteor Shower this weekend, experts say.
Early morning tomorrow or Monday are likely to have the most meteors, said Carolyn Kaichi, Bishop Museum Planetarium manager. To see the most meteors, she advised, go to a dark area where you can see the most sky. "Wait for the moon to set -- 1 or 2 a.m. this weekend -- and be comfortable. Be patient.
"Remember, the meteors are not a 'guaranteed' show," she said.
The Orionids are leftover dust from the tail of Halley's Comet, Kaichi noted.
Comets are made of water, ice, rock and frozen gases that stream off a comet's nucleus as it approaches the sun in its orbit.
Rocky pieces of debris left behind in space are meteoroids and they don't become meteors until they interact with the Earth's atmosphere and burn up, she said. "Most meteors are the size of sand grains but those that are larger and survive the fall in our sky to reach the ground are called meteorites."
Kudos to homeless-shelter team
A group of state workers who built a Leeward homeless shelter that has served nearly 500 people was named the State Team of the Year in awards announced yesterday.
The Employee of the Year honor was awarded to architect Ricky Sasaki, coordinator of the project.
Sasaki and other employees of the Department of Accounting and General Services did the design, planning and some of the construction of the shelter, Paiolu Kaiaulu, which opened its doors on March 1 and currently shelters 279 people.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona presented the awards yesterday. The honorees were selected by a volunteer selection committee, which reviewed 53 nominations, including 18 recommended state teams.
The state Manager of the Year award went to Walter Kawamura, workers' compensation hearings officer with the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.
Because of Kawamura's leadership, workers who were injured on the job collect benefit payments sooner, according to the state. Overall costs have been reduced and employers are paying 12 percent less in workers' compensation insurance premiums, it said.
Sasaki was also lauded for managing the construction of the new Waipahu Intermediate School cafeteria, which is the first in the Department of Education system to receive an award for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification from the U.S. Green Building Committee.
Police, Fire, Courts
Big Isle man faces assault charges
Big Island police charged a 39-year-old Kau man with numerous felony charges for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
Police arrested Byron Kahookaulana on Wednesday in connection with incidents that led to three all-points bulletins on June 10, 2006, Sept. 13, 2006, and Aug. 25, 2007, police said.
Kahookaulana was charged Thursday with unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, three counts of abuse of a family/household member and three counts of criminal property damage. Because of Kahookaulana's three prior convictions for abuse of a family/household member, the abuse charges were elevated to Class C felonies.
Kahookaulana was also arrested and charged in connection with separate bench warrants. Bail was set at $100,000.
Fire closes Maui roads and beach
A brush fire that swept across 50 acres started at about 11:15 a.m. yesterday near the Lahaina Fire Station.
The fire forced the closure of Highway 30 near the Lahaina Civic Center and the road between Kaanapali Parkway Drive and the Lahaina Civic Center Roadway shortly after noon.
Also closed were Hanakaoo Beach Park (Canoe Beach) and the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course.
The fire also damaged two telephone cables near the Lahaina Civic Center disrupting phone service for about 500 Kaanapali and Honokowai customers.
Victim says man hit him with bottle
Police arrested a 36-year-old man who allegedly hit another man with a bottle.
Police said that at about 2:05 a.m. yesterday, the suspect hit a 48-year-old man in the head with a glass bottle at the intersection of North Kukui and River streets. The victim suffered a minor laceration. Police said the victim claimed the attack was unprovoked.
Police arrested the suspect on suspicion of second-degree assault.