Rockfall risk deemed status quo
Soils and rock mitigation consultants have determined there is no visual evidence of increased risk of rockfalls from the cliff from which a 2 1/2 -ton boulder dislodged and crashed into a Hawaii Kai townhouse complex Monday, based on a visual inspection Tuesday, according to a written statement from Castle & Cooke Hawaii.
Still, Castle & Cooke says it has directed the consultants to conduct additional inspections and further evaluate appropriate temporary rock mitigation measures while designs for permanent measures are finalized.
Castle & Cooke is the developer of Lalea at Hawaii Kai. Kamehameha Schools owns the hillsides adjacent to Lalea. Both parties say they are working together to protect the residents of Lalea from further rockfalls, as they did when two boulders crashed into parked cars there on Thanksgiving 2002.
Monday's boulder dislodged from a cliff face on the north end of the subdivision not protected by netting installed on the hillside to the west of the subdivision following the 2002 rockfalls. Castle & Cooke said the northern slope is not as high as the western slope, no rocks appear to be in danger of falling and the homes next to the northern slope are much farther away.
Catherine Ball, whose home was in the path of Monday's boulder, said her family has no plans to evacuate, but she said she will not allow her children to play in their yard.
Areas open for bird hunting
The Kuaokala game management area and Makua-Keaau public hunting area of the Waianae Mountains have opened for game bird hunting, but the state warns that both pose a fire hazard due to the current drought.
The Kuaokala game management area will be opened to Kealia Trail. Any area beyond that in the Mokuleia forest reserve is off limits.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources also restricts any camping, hiking or four-wheel driving in the forest reserve. The Kuaokala Forest Reserve, where a fire started late last month, will remain closed, and DLNR personnel will remain in the area to monitor hunter activity. The Waianae, Waianae Kai and Nanakuli forest reserves will also remain closed. Beaches along these areas will be open.
For more information on these closed forest reserve areas, contact the department's Division of Forestry and Wildlife Oahu base yard at 973-9785.
Police, Fire, Courts
Crash victim was Waimea man
Big Island police identified yesterday a 21-year-old man who died Sunday after the pickup truck he was riding crashed into another truck as Ronald J. Tavares of Waimea.
Police said the drivers of two pickup trucks were allegedly racing and driving recklessly on Akoni Pule Highway when one truck hit the other.
A 21-year-old Puna woman, driving a 1988 Isuzu pickup truck heading north, struck a 1980 GMC pickup that was in the southbound lane but was also headed north. The woman, who was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the truck, was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition.
Tavares, a passenger in the Isuzu, was wearing a seat belt at the time. The GMC driver, Brian Santiago, 34, of North Kohala, was arrested and charged with negligent homicide, driving under the influence of an intoxicant, driving without a license, racing on the highway, inattention to driving and driving while his license was suspended or revoked for drunken driving.
Clues sought in hit-and-runs
Police need help in finding suspects in two separate hit-and-run cases over the past month.
At 2:40 p.m. Oct. 26, a man was running across Kawa Street in Kaneohe to reach a bus stop when he was hit by a light-green vehicle. Police said the driver pulled over to check on the victim but left before police arrived. The pedestrian was treated for arm and leg injuries.
At about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, a 13-year-old boy was walking his bicycle in a marked crosswalk across Kamehameha Highway in Aiea when he was hit by a tan or silver-colored pickup truck, possibly a GMC. Police said the suspect was seen headed west, and the truck might have front-end damage. The boy was treated for leg injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cellular phone.
Man's back yard gets homeless tent
Police arrested a homeless man who allegedly broke into what he thought was an abandoned house and set up a tent in the back yard.
Police said that at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, a 22-year-old man returned to his Maunawili home to find his kitchen window damaged. Nothing was stolen, and there were no signs of a search.
Police said about two hours later, the homeowner found a tent in his back yard, which is adjacent to the Olomana trail. Police were called, and a 36-year-old man was found sleeping inside the tent.
The homeless man allegedly admitted to breaking into the home, stating he thought it was abandoned. He was booked on suspicion of first-degree burglary.
Fire causes costly damage in Waikiki
A Waikiki hotel fire Tuesday night caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the structure and contents, a fire official said.
The three-alarm fire struck an outdoor recreation deck on the seventh floor of the Royal Kuhio Hotel.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said flammable liquids were stored in an outdoor section of the seventh floor where the fire originated.
A contractor had stored waterproofing material, paints, solvents, thinners and lacquers, Seelig said.
Fire investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.