McKinley triumphs in robotics
McKinley High School students have clinched the gold medal at a regional robotics meet in Oregon and qualified for the world championship next month.
Seven students with the McKinley team joined with schools from Danville, Calif., and Portland, Ore., on Saturday to win the FIRST Robotics Regional contest in Portland. The group, which was randomly selected, beat 55 robotics teams from seven states and British Columbia during the three-day event where student-built robots raced and competed in other challenges, said McKinley adviser Osa Tui.
The result gave McKinley, as well as the two schools it teamed up with, spots to battle against other regional robotics winners during the 2008 FIRST -- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology -- Championship from April 17 to 19 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It will have about 250 teams from around the globe, Tui said.
In Portland the McKinley students also won a General Motors Industrial Design Award for a technique in which their robot knocked down 40-inch inflatable balls from rival teams' overpasses without stopping, Tui said. The students had six weeks to design and build the 115-pound robot earlier this year, Tui said.
Other Hawaii schools scheduled to compete in robotics events on the mainland are Waialua High, Waiakea High, Punahou School and Sacred Hearts Academy.
Musician to go to halfway house
A federal judge granted the release yesterday of a 33-year-old local musician who was indicted in a 50-pound "ice" bust, allowing his transfer to a halfway house next week.
U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted a request by Joe Daniels Jr., founding member of B.E.T., a local hip-hop and reggae duo, to transfer to Mahoney Hale as soon as space is available, which is expected March 13.
Daniels and two other men were arrested after one of two Federal Express packages containing 50 pounds of methamphetamine, worth millions of dollars, was intercepted by drug agents and then opened at Daniels' apartment.
Daniels' attorney, Arthur Ross, said his client presents no danger to the community and that he has breathing difficulties, which is why he requested transfer to the halfway house.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Muehleck said despite Daniels' morbid obesity, with a weight of 430 pounds, back problems, diabetes and sleep apnea, he is mobile enough to perform at concerts.
Muehleck argued that Daniels' need for an oxygen tank is being met at the federal detention center, where he is being held.
Muehleck said Daniels is a daily user of marijuana and alcohol but not an ice user.
Trial is set for April 15.
The other two men indicted in the case are from California and will continue to be held at the federal detention center.
Police, Fire, Courts
Woman injured as truck rolls over
WAILUA, Kauai » A 46-year-old Kapaa woman sustained minor injuries and lost a load of sewage when the septic truck she was driving rolled onto its side.
The woman, whom Kauai police did not identify, was driving the truck at about noon yesterday on Kainahola Road between the Kainahola Reservoir and the Kapaa Poi Factory when she lost control of the truck.
The truck rolled onto its side and spilled its load.
Kauai police said they were unsure how much sewage spilled, but the truck had been filled with about 3,200 gallons.
The woman was taken to Wilcox Hospital for treatment.
Police and the Kauai Fire Department Hazmat team responded to the incident along with state Department of Health officials, while the Kainahola Road was closed for about 1 1/2 hours.
Police ID man who died on Maui
WAILUKU » The Maui man who died after his vehicle went off a roadway Saturday night in Maalaea has been identified as Kovack Haole.
Haole, 34, of Wailuku, was driving a sedan on North Kihei Road, headed in the Wailuku direction, when it went off the roadway and struck a utility pole at 11:36 p.m. Saturday, Maui police traffic investigator Duke Pua said.
A 41-year-old man who was a front-seat passenger was initially listed in critical condition, but his condition has improved, police said.
The death marks Maui's fourth traffic fatality this year, compared with two for the same period last year.
Crews try to halt Mauna Kea blaze
HILO » Hawaii County firefighters and others hoped to hold a pasture fire above the 7,000-foot elevation on Mauna Kea to 2,600 acres through the night, but winds expected before daybreak could create problems, said Deputy Chief Glenn Honda.
Winds, which had been 5 mph, were expected to increase to 15 mph, he said.
The fire, of unknown origin, was reported at 2:10 p.m. Saturday on the east face of Mauna Kea, above the Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge and above unpaved Mana Road. The site is about 20 miles northwest of Hilo.
Four helicopters, including two private choppers, made water drops, supplied by open water tanks in the area.