Stalled economy threatens harbor
KAHULUI » A slowing economy has prompted the state to propose dramatically shrinking a $350 million plan to upgrade and expand Kahului Harbor. The new cost: about $150 million.
Michael Formby, the state's deputy transportation director for harbors, said shippers cannot afford to pay the higher tariffs needed to cover the initial costs. The decision by Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. to pull two of its three ships from the Hawaii market is another factor.
The new proposal has the state shelving plans to dredge the harbor, build docks and build a western breakwater. The harbor's renovations would be limited to pier repairs and expansion, as well as the purchase of land on the eastern side.
The discussion came Friday during a meeting of a state task force to review Hawaii Superferry operations. Formby's presentation drew mostly positive reviews from residents who regularly use Maui's only commercial harbor for fishing, surfing and canoe paddling.
The 13 major users of Kahului Harbor, including Matson Navigation Co. and Young Bros. shipping, still need to meet with Transportation Department officials to discuss the new plans, Formby said. However, Formby said he expects to formally change the plans in early July once he has the working group's anticipated approval.
Volcano bustles on Big Island
COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
A geologist set up a time-lapse camera near a skylight at the top of Royal Gardens on Kilauea on the Big Island on Friday. Lava in the tube travels downslope until it reaches the ocean at Waikupanaha, creating the steam plume in the background.
Kilauea Volcano continued to pour lava into the ocean from its middle eastern rift zone yesterday, while Halemaumau Crater sent up a white plume of gas and ash that blew across the Kau Desert, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
While the Puu Oo crater is slowly collapsing, the system of subsurface tubes seems stable and continues to efficiently transport lava to the ocean, scientists said. The sulfur dioxide emission rate remained high, if variable, said the USGS.
The National Park Service has closed a portion of Crater Rim Drive, between Jaggar Museum and the Chain of Craters Road junction. The Kau Desert trail is closed from Jaggar Museum to Pepeiao Cabin.
Golf event raises hospital funds
The Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the proceeds of the May 6 Longs Benefit Golf Classic.
Foundation Chairman Michael W. Perry said the funds will be used to purchase a van to take patients to and from REHAB, to the market, to banks and on other errands to increase their independence.
The van will be modified with another $5,000 grant from Webco so all REHAB patients can use it, he said.
Bob Ingersoll, group vice president, Hawaii operations for Longs Drug Stores, said, "REHAB was an easy choice" as one of the beneficiaries of the Golf Classic because of its important role in providing rehabilitation services in the community.
HCC to celebrate upgraded lab
The Emeritus College program at Honolulu Community College will showcase its upgraded senior computer lab at the 20th-anniversary celebration on June 27. Free to the public, the event starts in the Norman W.H. Loui Conference Center at 9:30 a.m. and continues on the fourth floor until 11:30 a.m.
The celebration includes a DVD slide-show presentation of the students' work and free computer presentations. Details about the summer senior lectures and workshops will be provided. For more information call 845-9451, visit www.hiseniornet.eboard.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police, Fire, Courts
Arson suspected in garage blaze
Investigators believe a fire was intentionally set in the garage of an Aiea man's home early yesterday morning.
Around 12:55 a.m. a 57-year-old man living on Aliipoe Drive in Aiea woke up, heard a car drive off and saw his motion sensor light turn on, according to police. He went outside to check and saw flames coming from his garage.
He put out the fire with a garden hose, police said. The blaze caused $1,000 in damage to the exterior of his garage, said Fire Capt. Frank Johnson.
Stolen beer leads to teen girl's arrest
Police arrested a 14-year-old girl for allegedly stealing beer from a Palolo Valley store Saturday while another person hit the cashier with a can of soda.
Around 8:45 p.m. Saturday, police said, the 62-year-old cashier of a Palolo Valley retail store allegedly stopped the 14-year-old girl before she could leave without paying for a bottle of beer.
A boy around 15 to 17 then allegedly hit the man on the head with a can of soda, and together they fled with the bottle of beer.
The girl's mother learned of the incident and called police. She was arrested for second-degree robbery and released pending further investigation. The boy with her has not been arrested yet.
Man, 36, allegedly abuses 15-year-old
A police investigation led to the arrest of a 36-year-old Salt Lake man for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in March.
Police arrested the man at 11:40 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of one count of first-degree sexual assault and other allegations.
Police identify man found dead in water
Kauai police identified yesterday the body a 46-year-old Kapaa man who was found floating in the edge of the water off Kapaa as Jules Ventura.
A person walking in the area found Ventura's body and called police at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, a Kauai news release said.
Ventura was found near Otsuka's Furniture and Appliances. Police do not suspect foul play.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Todd Tanaka at 241-1697 or Kauai police at 241-1711.