Round Top reopens after delays
The city reopened Round Top Drive yesterday afternoon after months of construction delays that closed off the winding road and inconvenienced residents.
"We can open up this road as an overdue Christmas present to the residents of Round Top Drive," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann at a news conference.
Construction was originally supposed to finish in June, but crews found lateral cracks in the road and a failing crib wall that pushed the anticipated completion date until September and then to the end of the year.
The city closed Round Top Drive after heavy rainstorms in March 2006 deteriorated the road near a hairpin turn by the 2800 block. Residents living above the construction area had to take an alternate 8-mile route around the mountain that took about an additional 30 minutes to drive.
"Everyone on the mountain will be very happy," said Tantalus resident Rick Ralston, who had to plan for extra travel time and had several service companies object to driving to his home during the closure.
Construction totaled $6 million with the city paying $1.4 million, the Federal Emergency Management Agency spending $3 million and the state Civil Defense contributing $350,000.
There could still be road closures of one lane while the state Department of Land and Natural Resources continues work on stabilizing the road on the mountain slope.
USDA warns of Safeway beef
The U.S. Department of Agriculture warned yesterday that salmonella germs have been found in raw ground beef sold at Safeway stores between Sept. 19 and Nov. 5 in Hawaii and three other states.
No illnesses have been reported in Hawaii from the tainted meat, but the USDA cited 38 cases of salmonellosis, a bacterial infection, in Western states: 16 in Arizona, 18 in California and three in Nevada. One case in Idaho was not apparently linked to Safeway.
The USDA advised consumers to look for and discard ground beef products with those dates. Ground beef in Safeway stores now being sold is not the subject of the alert. Beef patties also are safe, the USDA said.
COURTESY OF KITV
This pet pig, killed Nov. 30 at Leilehua High School, was one of two raised from piglets and kept at the school for its agricultural program.
Group seeks aid in animal deaths
The Hawaiian Humane Society is offering $2,500 rewards for information leading to conviction in two separate animal cruelty cases.
The first is the Nov. 30 killing of a pet pig at Leilehua High School where two people entered the pig's pen, released it, then set hunting dogs loose. The dogs chased down the pig on school property, said Kawehi Yim, spokeswoman for the Humane Society. One of the hunters then allegedly cornered the pig and killed it.
The pig was one of two raised from piglets and kept at the school for its agricultural program.
"The hunter apparently wanted this pig because of its size," Yim said, adding it was reportedly entered in a pig-hunting tournament. Yim said police have opened a theft of livestock case.
The other case is the slaughter of a pet dog stolen Sunday from the Moanalua Golf Course. The owners said police told them the thieves probably slaughtered and ate the dog. Police arrested two former golf club maintenance workers for second-degree theft but released them without charges pending further investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 356-2247 and leave their name, telephone number, and date and time of call.
Police, Fire, Courts
Fake cop allegedly stages robbery
Police are searching for a man in his 30s who was dressed as a police officer and robbed a 23-year-old Kaneohe man at his home on Malio Place Monday afternoon.
Police said the man, dressed in a dark blue T-shirt with HPD in yellow lettering, wore black military-style pants and boots and had a black handgun at about 3 p.m. Monday.
He told the victim he wanted to talk to him about a warrant, then demanded money and valuables, and fled with the goods in a black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.
The man is described as 5 feet 9 inches and about 160 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cellular phone.
Man is arrested in alleged assault
Police arrested a 26-year-old man who allegedly assaulted a motorist who refused to drive the suspect to a hotel.
Police said that just before 9 p.m. on Monday, a 61-year-old man was waiting in his car near Keeaumoku Street. The suspect allegedly approached the victim's vehicle, grabbed him and demanded to be driven to his hotel.
When the victim refused, a struggle ensued during which the victim suffered minor injuries, police said. Police arrested the suspect on suspicion of unauthorized entry into a vehicle, third-degree assault and an outstanding contempt warrant issued by Hawaii County.
Man is accused of sex with teen
Police arrested a 26-year-old man who allegedly had sex with a girl half his age.
The suspect and a 13-year-old girl were involved in a consensual sexual relationship, police said. The girl's family learned of the relationship this month and called police.
The suspect, who lives in Kakaako, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of first- and third-degree sexual assault.
Police say 2 teens robbed 4 boys
Police arrested two teenagers who allegedly robbed four young boys at knifepoint last summer.
Police said that on Aug. 20 the suspects, an 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, were loitering at the Sugar Mill skate park in Aiea. The suspects allegedly robbed four younger boys at knifepoint in separate incidents within an hour.
Police said the suspects held three of the victims against their will before letting them go. Police arrested the suspects Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree robbery and kidnapping.
Waianae student arrested in theft
Police arrested a 17-year-old Waianae student after he allegedly stole a laptop computer from the vice principal's office last Friday.
The school suspected the boy and asked his mother to watch for the laptop, police said. The mother found the computer in her home and returned it to the school, police said. The son was arrested Monday for investigation of second-degree theft.
Big Isle resident accused of assault
A 39-year-old Holualoa man was charged yesterday with one count of second-degree sexual assault, two counts of abuse of a family or household member and one count of second-degree terroristic threatening.
Sanford K. Granito was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly sexually and physically assaulted a woman in the home during the course of five days.
The woman told police that from Dec. 12 to Sunday, the man sexually assaulted her, choked her and threatened her life.
Granito's bail was set at $5,250, and he is being held in the Kona cellblock awaiting his court appearance.