Architects oppose transit plan
The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects opposes the city's plans for an elevated fixed guideway system, saying it will create a "blight" in the community.
Peter Vincent, the chapter's president, urged Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a letter sent last week to consider technologies that aren't elevated.
The city recently published a "request for information" for technology options for the planned $3.5 billion mass transit project from Kapolei to Ala Moana. In the letter, Vincent said the city is precluding non-elevated systems, which would be less invasive and less expensive.
He wrote that "an elevated guideway will create a blight, particularly in our urban environments, and will obstruct otherwise protected mauka/makai view corridors."
Vincent also added that "at-grade," or same-level, systems work better with the city administration's push for transit-oriented developments.
Wayne Yoshioka, the city's acting transportation director, said he has to fully review the letter but added that at-grade systems aren't viable options for the city. The City Council voted in December 2006 for a separate system, which means it would have to be either above ground or below.
Yoshioka said an underground system would be too expensive. Same-level systems would also affect existing roads by requiring new traffic signals and safety features, he said.
Judges pass muster with lawyers
Attorneys give high marks to the performance of Hawaii judges in the past year, according to the Judicial Performance Program 2007 report.
The report provides summary results of performance evaluations for 20 judges. District and Circuit court judges rated 4.0 to 4.2 out of 5 for various attributes, including legal ability, judicial management skills, and ability for settlements and plea agreements.
The judges evaluated will be interviewed by the Judiciary's Judicial Evaluation Review Panel. The program was established to improve performance and efficiency within the judicial system.
School cesspools to be replaced
An additional $5 million for the ongoing removal and conversion of large-capacity cesspools at 60 public schools has been approved by the state.
Since some schools have more than one, there are more than 300 cesspools that need to be replaced with suitable alternatives.
More than $25 million has been released since 2003 for design and construction of the upgrades. Construction at all schools is scheduled to be completed by September 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all large-capacity cesspools to be closed and converted.
State officials say replacing cesspools with more reliable wastewater treatment systems will protect the safety of students, faculty and staff, as well as surrounding communities.
Maui water meets standards
Maui's Department of Water Supply has canceled the boil-water advisory for Upper Kula residents and business.
The water now meets the federal and state health standards. Recent tests showed no positive results for total coliforms, Maui County officials said last week.
The repair of five large pipeline sections damaged during a storm early last month required the department to perform ongoing water-quality monitoring.
Hilo Airport plans new cargo port
Long-awaited construction of a new cargo facility at Hilo Airport is slated to begin in February.
More than $33.5 million has been released by the state for the project, which will also include construction of an airplane taxiway, a cargo apron and a vehicle parking and loading area. In 1998, $1.2 million was released to design the project, which was deferred after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks caused a significant downturn in airport revenue.
The design contract was renegotiated in 2006 at the request of airport tenants and cargo operators.
The new 63,000-square-foot facility will be closer to the airport's other operations than its current air cargo buildings, which are more than a half-mile away from the passenger terminal.
Construction is expected to be completed in June 2009.
Police, Fire, Courts
Officer arrested in shooting case
A Honolulu police officer was arrested for discharging a weapon into the air during the New Year's firework celebrations in Waipahu, police said.
About 12:35 a.m. yesterday, officers responded to a man firing his weapon into the air, and witnesses pointed out the suspect.
Police arrested the 37-year-old officer at 94-1538 Waipahu St. on suspicion of reckless endangering. No one was injured. He was released pending investigation.
1 hurt, 1 arrested after party brawl
A drunken New Year's Eve brawl in Nanakuli left one man unconscious and another arrested on an assault charge.
At about 10:25 p.m., police responded to a report of a fight on Laiku Street in Nanakuli. The suspect, a 44-year-old man, got into an argument that turned into a fight with a 39-year-old man at a party. The suspect knocked the victim unconscious, police said.
Most partygoers refused to give statements, but relatives of the victim identified the suspect, according to police. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault. Police said both men were under the influence of alcohol. The victim was in stable condition yesterday.
Homemade aerial damages car
A parked car was damaged by a homemade aerial firework early yesterday morning.
About 3:15 a.m. yesterday in Kalihi, a 48-year-old man launched an improvised pyrotechnic device that flew across the street and struck the windows of a parked vehicle, police said.
The device shattered both front windows. Nobody was in the car and there were no injuries.
Police arrested the man on suspicion of having a prohibited weapon, reckless endangering and first-degree criminal property damage.
Arrested suspect threatens officer
A 30-year-old man arrested in a shoplifting case allegedly tried to grab the arresting officer's gun and made threats.
At 11:10 p.m. New Year's Eve, the suspect was arrested on Kalakaua Avenue for suspected theft and criminal trespass. Police said the suspect was taken to a hospital for examination.
After the exam, the suspect allegedly tried to grab the arresting officer's gun. The officer was able to keep the gun in his holster, and the suspect allegedly threatened to cut the officer's throat. He was arrested for additional charges of attempted first-degree theft and first-degree terroristic threatening.
Man caught with missing items
Police arrested a 23-year-old man for allegedly stealing a woman's purse while she was dancing in a Honolulu nightclub.
At 1:55 a.m. Sunday, the woman noticed her purse, which had been on the ground near her feet, was stolen. An off-duty deputy sheriff, who was providing security, found her empty purse in the trash.
A police officer responded, investigated the case and left. The off-duty sheriff detained a man on an unrelated case and, after a search, found the woman's belongings in his pockets.
The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree theft and unauthorized possession of personal confidential information.