Volcanoes Park reopens museum
HILO » With decreasing amounts of sulfur dioxide coming from Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has reopened Jaggar Museum and 1.5 miles of road leading to it, the park announced.
The museum, which describes the geology of the park, was closed March 19 following an early morning natural explosion of a gas vent inside Halemaumau, about a mile from the museum.
The release of sulfur dioxide peaked at 2,500 metric tons per day just three days before the explosion, and authorities were fearful of more explosions as well as a shift of winds that could carry the gas toward the museum.
Neither took place, and gas levels have declined to 500 to 700 tons per day, compared with background levels last year of 125 to 200 tons per day.
Crater Rim Drive reopened Thursday, but the portion of the road closest to Halemaumau remains closed, as it has been since Feb. 20. The museum might be closed again if conditions change, the park said.
Keeping state's cash could buy jail
An Oahu man faces possible prison time for failing to return a windfall of $27,904 that the state Department of Taxation sent as a refund on his 2006 income taxes.
Tarry Limakade pleaded no contest to first-degree theft Friday in an appearance before Circuit Judge Derrick Chan. He will be sentenced June 9 on the felony count, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Limakade's tax preparer discovered a typographical error on his tax return after Limakade reported that the big refund had been deposited electronically into his bank account, according to a Taxation Department release. But he failed to take the preparer's advice to return the money and file an amended return claiming the correct $77 tax refund due to him.
Limakade moved to a better apartment and bought two used automobiles, an Xbox 360 video game console and clothing with the windfall, according to the release.
The office of the state attorney general filed a motion opposing the no-contest plea, which neither admits nor denies the charge. The motion said the plea is not appropriate because of the serious nature of the crime.
In an earlier tax case, the judge ordered a former Hawaii man to repay more than $71,000 in refund money he collected on his 2004 and 2005 returns.
Defendant has new charges, trial
A former city worker already charged with second-degree theft, bribery and tampering with a government record for allegedly updating motor vehicle registrations at discount rates and pocketing the money is facing additional charges.
Brian Hamasaki of Aiea waived indictment and pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court yesterday to first-degree theft and bribery. His trial is scheduled for June 9.
He is scheduled to go to trial on the other charges April 28.
Second-degree theft is a Class C felony, which involves property or services of value greater than $300.
First-degree theft is a Class B felony, which involves property or services of value greater than $20,000.
Police, Fire, Courts
Road crash injures Kauai driver
HANALEI, Kauai » A 40-year-old Kauai man is in guarded condition after being airlifted to the Queen's Medical Center over the weekend.
Williams Gonsalves of Anahola was heading east on Kuhio Highway near the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant at 1:17 a.m. Saturday when his vehicle crossed the center line, went off the road and ran into a wire supporting a utility pole.
Gonsalves, who was unconscious when officials arrived, first was taken to Wilcox Hospital and then, later Saturday, was transported to Oahu, county officials said yesterday.
The crash broke a high-voltage wire and caused a power failure, and the highway was closed for about 3 1/2 hours after the accident.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A hiker with an injured arm was rescued yesterday in Manoa and taken out by helicopter to an ambulance waiting at Manoa District Park.
Rescuers fetch fallen, injured hiker
Fire personnel rescued an injured hiker in his late 40s yesterday after he fell off a trail in Manoa.
The Fire Department received the call for help at about 2:30 p.m.
A rescue crew hiked in and found the man, who had slipped and fallen about 25 feet and had injured his right arm, said fire Capt. Frank Johnson.
The man was flown out by fire helicopter and turned over to Emergency Medical Services at about 4 p.m., Johnson said. He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital.
Robber holds up Territorial Savings
Police are looking for a man who robbed a downtown bank yesterday afternoon.
Police said the suspect entered the downtown branch of Territorial Savings Bank, 1000 Bishop St., at 3:09 p.m. yesterday, approached the teller and demanded money.
The suspect then fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.
The suspect faces arrest for first-degree robbery.
Hoods lead to bust of trio in stolen car
A patrol officer arrested three men at a Waipahu gas station yesterday on suspicion of auto theft, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and possession of an electric gun.
The officer, while at a gas station, noticed that the driver and passenger of a vehicle that had pulled up were wearing hoods over their heads.
The officer ran the license plate, thinking the occupants might have been attempting a robbery, and discovered the vehicle was stolen.
Police arrested the 18-year-old driver, who has no local address, on suspicion of unauthorized control of a vehicle. Authorities charged the passengers, Daniel Kepanu Mano-Kila, 19, and Tyron Antonio with unauthorized entry into a vehicle. Antonio was charged with possession of an electric gun.
The arrests occurred in Waipahu at about 8:28 a.m. yesterday.
Antonio's bail was set at $4,000, and Mano-Kila's bail was set at $2,000.
Officer collars alleged escapee
Police arrested a 33-year-old Ewa Beach man early Sunday morning who allegedly escaped from the Oahu Community Correctional Center.
At about 12:15 a.m., police saw the man allegedly holding an open beer bottle at Oneula Beach Park in Ewa Beach.
Police stopped the man, discovered that he was the alleged escapee from the Laumaka Work Furlough and arrested him.