Former UH researcher on shuttle
Astronaut Stanley Love, 42, a former University of Hawaii researcher, will be a mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission scheduled for launch today.
Love did postdoctoral research at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology in 1994, modeling formation of meteoritic chondrules and evolution of asteroids and in investigating possible meteorites from the planet Mercury, the UH reported.
Klaus Keil, HIGP planetary scientist and former interim dean of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, called Love "a superb scientist."
"The greatest compliment I can pay Stan is that he would have had an outstanding career as a university researcher and teacher had he not decided to join the astronaut corps," he said.
The STS-122 mission, called "The Voyage of Columbus," will expand the space station's science capabilities with delivery of the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory.
Love will have charge of the shuttle robot arm; he will be second in charge of the space station robot arm, and he will be the third spacewalker during the mission.
Army reopens Makua Valley
The Army said Makua Valley on Oahu has been reopened for native Hawaiian cultural activities.
The announcement came yesterday, two days after the military detonated an unexploded World War II-era bomb and two other munitions at the Makua Military Reservation. A two-day range cleanup removed shrapnel and other debris from the detonations, as well as protective barriers used during the operation, the Army said.
Due to safety concerns, the reservation was closed Nov. 1 to all but essential security and demolition personnel.
Two weeks ago, two dozen people protested the Army's refusal to allow them into the valley for an annual Hawaiian celebration of peace.
In its announcement, the Army said two groups -- Malama Makua and Hui Malama -- will hold a makahiki celebration in the valley Dec. 14-15.
Soldiers had to fill thousands of sandbags for the operation, placing them around cultural sites and the detonation zone for the bomb. The operation also forced the closure of Farrington Highway and a beach area near the site for about two hours.
City office donates to symphony
The Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts has awarded a $75,000 grant to the Honolulu Symphony Society to support the current concert season.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann will present the check to the society at the opening of the performance by the Four Tops and the Spinners at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Neal Blaisdell Arena.
"The Honolulu Symphony is a world-class orchestra that presents exceptional musical experiences and contributes to the cultural vitality of Honolulu," said Hannemann.
The symphony society anticipates the attendance of some 65,000 audience members during the concert season, which runs through May.
Red Cross warns of impostors
The American Red Cross-Hawaii Chapter advised the public to be wary of individuals and groups who are purporting to solicit on behalf of the organization during the holidays.
Officials said the only fundraising efforts being conducted by the American Red Cross is through its mailings and Web site.
Officials are asking to report any suspicious fundraising actions to the organization at 739-8108 or to the police.
Police, Fire, Courts
Alcohol use figures in motorcycle crash
The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office has identified two men who died in separate vehicle crashes on Sunday.
Andrew Michael Caruso, 27, of Mililani died of blunt-force injuries due to a motorcycle collision. Alcohol intoxication was a significant factor in Caruso's death, the Medical Examiner's Office said.
Caruso was riding a blue 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle east on Wikao Street near Waikalani Drive near Mililani when he veered off the road at about 9:30 p.m.
The motorcycle hit a curb, and Caruso was thrown from the vehicle, police said. Caruso was wearing a helmet.
Harold W. Ring, 72, of Honolulu died of a heart attack. Other factors in his natural death included diabetes, hypertension and an enlarged heart, the Examiner's Office said.
Ring was traveling east on Moanalua Freeway in a white 1995 GMC Sonoma pickup truck at about 8 a.m. The truck exited onto Puuloa Road, where it jumped the grassy median and stopped. Emergency responders found him unresponsive.
Police did not count Ring among Oahu's traffic fatalities because he died of natural causes.
Blaze destroys Big Island house
Big Island firefighters are investigating a house fire yesterday that caused about $102,000 in damage.
At 7:19 a.m. four units responded to the wooden structure fire at the end of Ihope Road in Mountain View.
The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes and extinguished at 8:45 a.m., according to a report by fire Capt. Craig Nagamine.
The single-story structure with metal corrugated roofing collapsed and was destroyed, firefighters said.
A neighbor reported the owner was off island, but had noticed cars entering the roadway to the property late at night, the report said.
2 missing men have court dates
Big Island police are asking for the public's help to find two men.
Thomas James Crowe, 56, of Kona was convicted of possessing child pornography but did not show up for sentencing and violated his terms of supervised release.
Crowe, who is wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. A federal warrant was issued for his arrest Nov. 20.
Police described Crowe as fair skinned, 5 feet 10 inches tall, about 170 pounds, with blue eyes and partially gray hair.
Junior Kaimi Santiago, 24, is wanted for numerous outstanding bench warrants.
Santiago, who is known to frequent the Hilo and Puna districts, is 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 185 pounds, with brown eyes and long brown hair. He has "Santiago" tattooed in Old English letters across his chest.
Police said he is dangerous, and warned the public from approaching or attempting to apprehend him.
Anyone with information of the whereabouts of either of these two men is asked to call Big Island police at 935-3311. Anonymous callers can call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.
Soldier indicted in UH sex assault
A Schofield Barracks soldier has been indicted in connection with the sexual assault of a freshman student at her dorm room and a series of break-ins at the University of Hawaii.
Circuit Judge Derrick Chan increased bail yesterday to $250,000 for Army Spc. Mark Heath, 20, who was set to be deployed to Iraq in a week.
Heath was indicted on three counts of first-degree burglary and one count each of third-degree sexual assault and unauthorized entry in a dwelling.
Heath was detained and arrested Nov. 25.
He confessed to burglaries that occurred at the dorms over a period of three months, said Deputy Prosecutor Thalia Murphy. He acknowledged to police that he had tried to cut the panties off a sleeping female student in one of the break-ins on Aug. 19.
Heath allegedly engaged in "deviant sexual behavior," including stealing panties and money, she said. He allegedly entered the dorm rooms through an unlocked fire escape. Police said Heath committed three burglaries with five victims.
Manager accused of taking funds
A former project manager with a nonprofit corporation that employs the physically handicapped is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from his employer.
Frederick Wong was indicted by an Oahu grand jury yesterday on a charge of first-degree theft that allegedly occurred over a four-year period ending in 2006.
Part of Wong's responsibilities at Trace Inc. was to prepare time sheets for the company's payroll. He is accused of preparing bogus time sheets for three "ghost employees" who did not perform work for Trace Inc.
When the checks were cut, Wong allegedly gave the checks to the individuals named on the checks, who then cashed them and kicked back about 90 percent in cash to him, said Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter.
Circuit Judge Derrick Chan approved bail at $50,000.
Wong has prior felony theft convictions from 1997 and 1984.