Guard is accused of sex assault
A former Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility ward has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually assaulted by a security guard while staying at the facility.
In the lawsuit, the former ward said she was sexually assaulted as a 16-year-old by correctional officer Roger Heffernan.
She was a ward at HYCF in Kailua from 1993 to 1997.
The lawsuit names as defendants Heffernan, former supervisors John Shinkawa and Glenn Yoshimoto, and the state Department of Human Services and Office of Youth Services, which operates the correctional facility.
The former ward alleges the state and supervisors knew about the conditions at the facility leading to abuse of the wards and failed to protect her from harm.
A spokesman for the Human Services Department was not available for comment.
Hospital to gets funds for repairs
Gov. Linda Lingle released more than $1.2 million to repair a leaking roof and elevators at Leahi Hospital near Diamond Head, a state news release said yesterday.
Leahi Hospital is one of two public health facilities on Oahu overseen by the Hawaii Health Systems Corp.
At the hospital's Atherton Building, $512,670 will be spent on a new roof to prevent further leaking and protect equipment and records from water damage. Atherton houses HHSC's administrative staff and clinical research offices of the University of Hawaii-Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine.
At the Young Building, $703,820 will be spent to replace two elevator cabs. The building serves as the residence area for long-term care patients and is used by visitors and hospital staff.
The design phase for both projects is expected to be completed next month with construction beginning this spring. Construction for the Atherton Building is scheduled to be finished by December 2008, while construction for the Young Building is scheduled to be completed in March 2009.
Gift drive for seniors scheduled
Three organizations will accept donations next month that will be wrapped and given to Hawaii's seniors during the holidays.
Live it Up! Magazine, Project Dana and Aloha United Way are organizing the gift drive from Dec. 1 through 15.
The groups say people 60 years of age or older will soon make up 20 percent of Hawaii's population, and many live on fixed incomes and spend their holidays alone.
People can bring unwrapped presents such as gift cards, paper goods and large-print books to 33 churches and temples in the state. A list of drop-off sites is available at www.volunteerhawaii.org or by dialing 211 to reach Aloha United Way's hot line.
Schools offer to cut meal prices
The state Department of Education is reminding families to apply for free or reduced-price school meals under a federal program.
To qualify for free meals, a family of four must make no more than $30,875 per year, or $43,938 to receive reduced-price lunch and breakfast, according to the Education Department.
Prices are $1.25 for lunch and 35 cents for breakfast. Through the program, eligible students can get free meals or have them reduced to 20 cents each for lunch or breakfast.
Participating schools have mailed application forms to parents and guardians of schoolchildren.
Police, Fire, Courts
Visitor dies after snorkeling mishap
A 76-year-old Washington state visitor died yesterday after a North Shore snorkeling accident.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office identified the man as Arthur Branson of Deming, Wash.
Police said that at about 10:30 a.m. Branson was snorkeling near Turtle Bay resort when he lost his fins and started to struggle.
Branson's son or son-in-law pulled him out, and rescue crews took him to Kahuku Hospital, where he died at 11 a.m., police said.
Family members told police the man had a heart condition prior to the incident. An autopsy will be performed today to determine the cause of death.
Beach brawl leads to man's arrest
A 20-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly fighting with several people at a Haleiwa beach.
At 3:08 p.m. police responded to a report of the suspect allegedly assaulting people at Sunset Beach Park. A fight started that spilled onto Kamehameha Highway. Police said a lifeguard on duty tried to break up the fracas but was allegedly punched by the suspect, Christopher Freitas.
Freitas was arrested at the scene, and charged yesterday with disorderly conduct and four counts of third-degree assault. He is being held on $750 bail.
2 drivers injured in 3-vehicle crash
A 61-year-old man was critically injured yesterday when his Mercedes-Benz was broadsided by a Ford Mustang attempting to stop at a red light at Nimitz Highway and Kalihi Street.
The driver of the Mustang, a 52-year-old man, was seriously injured. Both were taken to the Queen's Medical Center.
Police said the Mustang driver was going at a high rate of speed westbound on Nimitz Highway and attempted to stop but skidded into the intersection and broadsided the Mercedes-Benz, which was going south and making a left turn from Kalihi Street.
The impact forced the Mercedes into a sport utility vehicle driven by a 60-year-old woman going north on Kalihi Street and turning left onto Nimitz, police said.