Aloha cancels $10 fare increase
Aloha Airlines rescinded its new double-tiered interisland fare structure yesterday and made all of its lowest one-way flights $49 again.
"We want to be competitive," Aloha spokesman Stu Glauberman said.
On Wednesday, Aloha said it was increasing fares by $10 on interisland flights of more than 150 nautical miles due to skyrocketing fuel costs. That meant Honolulu-Hilo and Honolulu-Kona flights would be $59, while Honolulu-Kauai and Honolulu-Maui flights would remain at $49. The prices exclude taxes and fees.
Aloha's decision yesterday to lower the fares again came after rivals Hawaiian Airlines and Mesa Air Group's go! failed to match the increase.
With fuel costs soaring, Aloha -- which has lost money for 16 consecutive quarters -- has been at the forefront of trying to increase the price of interisland flights in the midst of an ongoing fare war.
Awana blackmailer finishes term
The man who blackmailed Gov. Linda Lingle's former chief of staff over his relationship with a woman in the Philippines has completed his one-year sentence, and officials say he has left the United States.
Federal authorities have confirmed that Rajdatta Patkar, 47, from India, was released last month from the federal detention center near Honolulu Airport. Federal prosecutors and immigration officials either didn't know or wouldn't reveal his current location.
Patkar left the country while questions remain surrounding details of the blackmail of Bob Awana, who had been Republican Lingle's top aide overseeing all state agencies before he resigned June 29 after the extortion became public.
Lingle has said Awana's actions in the Philippines were a personal matter that had nothing to do with his official state trips there in 2005 and 2006.
Patkar pleaded guilty to attempting to extort $35,000 from Awana. With credit for time served, Patkar fulfilled his sentence when he was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Dec. 18.
Maps show underwater features
New federal underwater maps of Hawaii will allow the state to create "21st-century digital ahupuaas," said Dan Polhemus, head of the state Aquatic Resources Division.
An ahupuaa is a Hawaiian land division running from the mountains to the seashore. The new maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will allow display of natural resources to continue from the land on into the sea, Polhemus said.
Where a certain land feature such as a stream may now seem to extend its influence straight out into the ocean, the maps may show that a certain feature makes a big twist under water, he said.
Availability of the new maps was announced last week by NOAA. Technically, they show "shallow-water benthic habitats," but the agency also calls them coral maps.
Not surprisingly, the Big Island, with the most land, also has the most underwater coral.
"Live coral covers 57 percent, or 29 square miles, of the waters surrounding the Big Island of Hawaii," said NOAA oceanographer Timothy Battista.
Around the state, the maps cover 506 square miles of ocean habitat. That measures down to the 100-foot depth, Polhemus said.
The maps can be seen at: ccma.nos.noaa.gov/products/biogeography/hawaii_cd_07/startup.html
Police, Fire, Courts
Girlfriend claims boyfriend hit her
Police arrested a 43-year-old man for allegedly punching his girlfriend after an argument.
Early Friday morning, the suspect and his 46-year-old girlfriend were arguing at their Kaneohe residence. Police said the suspect left on foot and the victim followed in her car.
The pair later walked to the suspect's work and the argument continued.
Police said at about 4 a.m., the suspect allegedly punched the woman in the face several times, then attempted to treat her injuries.
The woman filed a police report and received further treatment from Castle Medical Center. Patrol officers arrested the man on suspicion of second-degree assault.
Missing woman suffers Alzheimer's
Police are looking for a 70-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease who wandered away from her family last night.
Julita Guillermo was last seen shopping with her family at the Ross Store at 45-480 Kaneohe Bay Drive about 7 p.m. yesterday.
She is described as 4 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 100 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a purple shirt with red-colored roses, black pants and a pair of slippers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police's missing persons detail at 529-3115.
Motorcycle crash kills Maui soldier
A 22-year-old Army sergeant died after an early-morning crash yesterday on Maui.
At about 12:30 a.m. yesterday, the driver of a 2007 Suzuki motorcycle was headed toward Kahului on Maalaea Road, lost control and hit a guardrail, police said.
The victim, Eric Rynearson of Wailuku, flew from the bike and sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said he was wearing a helmet at the time.
Rynearson was an Army sergeant stationed in Maui and assigned to the recruiting command. He is from Oregon. This is the first Maui traffic fatality of 2008, compared with one at this same time last year.