Newspaper and unions plan talks
Officials from the Honolulu Advertiser and six unions will return to the bargaining table soon.
Hundreds of Advertiser employees voted Sunday to authorize a strike, protesting the company's proposal that would increase health-care costs and offer a 1 percent raise. Employees allege it amounts to a $150 monthly pay cut in real dollars.
Wayne Cahill, a spokesman for the six unions, said tentative negotiation dates of March 6 and 7 were set yesterday.
"At least the company has decided it's better to bargain instead of having to do battle," Cahill said. "The strike authorization vote still holds."
Cahill said preparations for a strike are still ongoing, pending a final contract that both sides can agree with.
Boat tours to resume at Arizona
Boat tours to the USS Arizona Memorial will resume today after a problem with one of the gangway planks that link the visitor center to the dock, according to memorial officials.
Service was interrupted at about 11 a.m. yesterday because the problem created an unsafe boarding situation, officials said in a news release.
The Navy and the National Park Service fixed the problem, and the center will be open for normal operation today.
Flags drop for former lawmaker
The state flags on state and county buildings throughout the isles will be flown at half-staff Monday in honor of former state Rep. Robert C. Oshiro.
Oshiro, 83, who died Feb. 12, represented Wahiawa, Waialua and Kawailoa in the state Legislature from 1959 to 1970. A private burial service will be held Monday.
County buys parcel near Hilo
HILO » Hawaii County has completed the purchase for open-space preservation of a 234-acre coastal parcel at Kawa Bay, 60 miles south of Hilo in the remote Kau district, county land specialist Harry Yada said.
The site, also known as Kawaa Bay, is a popular surfing spot halfway between Pahala and Naalehu. The shoreline is accessible by a rough, unpaved road.
The area also contains a heiau, or temple site; a freshwater spring; ancient trails; and native vegetation.
The county paid the appraised value of the land, $1.92 million, to owners John M. Katchmar Trust and Waiohinu Dreams LLC, Yada said. The county hopes the payment from an open-space preservation fund established in 2005 will be partially reimbursed in the amount of $1.2 million from the state Legacy Land Program, Yada said.
Without the reimbursement, the county program still has $3.27 million available for further purchases, he said.
The county is negotiating to purchase three adjoining parcels totaling 550 acres from Edmund C. Olson, he said. The purchases depend on obtaining $1.5 million from the Legacy Land Program and $1 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Kawa purchase is the second by the county's Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.
The first was the purchase of a 1.8-acre parcel at the Waipio Valley Lookout, acquired for $900,000 in October.
HDS donating to kids' center
The Hawaii Dental Service will award $100,000 to the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center tomorrow at the annual HDS Tooth Fairy Fun Day, held to increase awareness of how important preventive dental care is for children.
The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Discovery Center in Kakaako at 111 Ohe St. Free parking is available in the Kakaako Waterfront Park parking lot.
HDS and the Discovery Center are sponsoring the fun day to call attention to National Children's Dental Health Month. The donation will be used to upgrade the center's Big Mouth Theater.
Dentists will provide free dental screenings for children. Children can play educational games and activities, and decorate their own tooth box for their baby teeth. Admission is free for the first 500 HDS members and their families. Nonmembers will receive a discounted $6 admission price. More information is available at www.deltadentalhi.org.
Police, Fire, Courts
Fire that destroyed hut was accidental
Fire investigators determined the blaze that destroyed a Quonset hut in Waimanalo early yesterday morning was caused by an electrical malfunction in a socket and was accidental.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said the 12:07 a.m. blaze began in a kitchen socket behind the refrigerator.
The homeowner awoke to find smoke and flames coming from behind the refrigerator and escaped unharmed.
Damage was estimated at $170,000.
Man is booked in woman's abuse
Police booked a 29-year-old man Thursday who was accused of abuse last year.
On Sept. 5 the suspect allegedly broke into his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend's Kailua home and pushed her several times. The woman suffered minor injuries. Police said the suspect allegedly took several items in the home.
The suspect was at the Oahu Community Correction Center on Thursday, where he was booked on suspicion of first-degree burglary, harassment and abuse.
Suspects charged in man's shooting
Authorities have charged two men in connection with a shooting and beating in Waianae last month.
At about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 26, two men were leaving a Waianae home when they were approached by two armed men.
Lionel Afoa, 39, allegedly fired a handgun at a 40-year-old man, beat him and his 37-year-old friend and robbed both men. Tuulofoaina Utuga, 30, allegedly joined in the robbery, and both fled the scene. No one was shot in the incident.
The suspects were identified, arrested and charged Thursday.
Afoa, who was arrested at Halawa Correctional Facility, was charged with first-degree robbery, attempted second-degree murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and use of a firearm in a felony.
Utuga was arrested at Oahu Community Correctional Center and charged with first-degree robbery. Bail for each was set at $100,000.
Sex abuse case focuses on teen
Police have opened a first-degree sexual abuse case in Pearl City in which a 14-year-old boy is alleged to have sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy over nearly three years.
The younger boy reported he had been sexually assaulted numerous times by the teen from June 2004 to April 2007.
Man charged after wife's strangulation
A 47-year-old Ewa Beach man turned himself in at the Kapolei Police Station yesterday for allegedly assaulting and strangling his 37-year-old wife Thursday morning.
Police said the wife confronted her husband about having an affair, and they argued. The suspect allegedly assaulted and strangled the woman.
The case was reported to police, and the man surrendered yesterday.
He was arrested on suspicion of felony abuse of a household member.