2 local soldiers die in Mideast
A 44-year-old Army soldier from Wahiawa died Tuesday in Iraq from an illness, the Pentagon reported yesterday.
Sgt. Reno S. Lacerna, who died in Al Qayyarah, was assigned to the 87th Corps Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. The Army is investigating the cause of the noncombat-related death, the Defense Department said.
He is the 75th soldier with ties to Hawaii to die in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Four sailors, 80 Marines, two Air Force personnel and one civilian with Hawaii ties also have died there.
Lacerna was the second service member from Oahu to die in the Middle East in the last week.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries, 52, of Honolulu also died Tuesday, as a result of injuries suffered Dec. 24 in a vehicular accident in Kuwait. He was assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group in Kuwait.
1 commuter ferry needs repair
The city canceled rides today on the Rachel Marie, one of TheBoat's two ferries, because of engine problems.
The 6 a.m. ride from Kalaeloa to Aloha Tower and the 4:20 p.m. ride in the opposite direction have been canceled since last week while crews repair the left engine.
The Rachel Marie, a 149-passenger catamaran built in 1988, has hampered the city's pilot program with engine problems since it began operation in September. The city has canceled rides for the Rachel Marie weeks at a time, directing passengers to direct bus routes or to the Melissa Ann, the other ferry running on schedule.
Diamond Head park gets funds
The governor has released $4.4 million for improvements to the Diamond Head State Monument trail system. The popular state park attracts 600,000 visitors a year.
The money will be used for the design and construction of improvements to the trails, which have deteriorated due to use and erosion, according to the Governor's Office.
A loop trail will be built to connect the Summit Lookout and the rest-stop landing at the top of the pedestrian tunnel. Safer stairways and wider walkways will be installed at the Winch and Summit lookouts.
Construction is scheduled to begin in February 2009 and should be completed in a year.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man shoots into crowd of teens
Police are looking for a man who fired a handgun repeatedly into a group of teens Wednesday at McCully Shopping Center.
At about 10:50 p.m., 12 teenagers, ranging in age from 14 to 19, were in front of Phuket Thai Restaurant when they were approached by 10 to 15 males in their teens or early 20s, police said.
An argument arose, and one of the males who approached pulled a gun.
"We are looking for a shooter who fired off multiple rounds into the crowds," said CrimeStoppers coordinator Sgt. Kim Buffett. "Fortunately, no one was hit."
One person sustained minor injuries when a bullet ricocheted off a wall.
The suspect, described as in his late teens or early 20s, is wanted on suspicion of attempted murder. Police found a large-caliber handgun on Lime Street behind the shopping center. The gun, believed to have been used in the shooting, had been reported stolen.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 955-8300 or *CRIME from a cellular phone.
Pharmacists allegedly threatened
Cool-headed pharmacy workers disarmed a knife-wielding 20-year-old woman in Kauai yesterday afternoon, according to a county news release.
Police said the Kapaa woman entered the Kalaheo Pharmacy with a knife and her face partially covered by a scarf at around 5:25 yesterday afternoon. Police said she allegedly demanded that the on-duty pharmacist and pharmacy technician give her narcotics.
The pharmacy personnel responded by speaking calmly to the woman, and one of them took the knife away from her, police said. The woman was referred to a doctor at the Kalaheo Clinic for a medical evaluation. She was arrested when police arrived.
Traveler is found with drug packets
A 56-year-old Oahu woman heading for Hilo was allegedly caught with drugs Wednesday night at an Aloha Airlines security checkpoint.
Authorities said the woman had 17 packets of crystal methamphetamine weighing five grams and two grams of marijuana.
The drugs were allegedly found on her person, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy.
Man is nabbed in November assault
Police arrested a 20-year-old Kalihi man yesterday who allegedly punched and threatened a 23-year-old man in November.
Police said the man was armed with a knife when he assaulted and threatened the victim, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Nov. 24 assault.
The suspect was later identified in a photographic lineup.
Unconscious baby raises suspicions
Police are investigating the case of a 2-month-old boy who was found unresponsive at 5 a.m. Wednesday at his Kaneohe home.
He was admitted to a hospital with respiratory failure and was listed in critical condition.