Biosafety lab to be discussed
An update on a proposed $47.5-million Pacific Regional Biosafety Laboratory at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 314 at the school.
Dr. Duane Gubler, director of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and others will discuss plans for the biocontainment laboratory. The high-security Kakaako laboratory will be used for research and early warning of deadly infectious diseases threatening Hawaii and the Pacific.
UH-Manoa and the National Institutes of Health are developing the laboratory as part of a national network. Twelve labs will be built at universities across the country to protect public health against natural or terroristic biological threats.
Arboretum center to reopen
The Lyon Arboretum Visitor Center formally reopened this month after a two-year renovation to improve safety and access for the disabled, the University of Hawaii at Manoa announced.
The renovation brought the visitor center up to current codes for safety and disability access and were part of a $3.1 million state appropriation to fix Lyon Arboretum following its closure in 2004 to the public over safety concerns.
The money also paid to rebuild two 1920s-era cottages for educational programs and office space.
Christopher Dunn, the director of the arboretum, said in an e-mail that another $4 million is needed to complete renovations to some of the other cottages on the property in the back of Manoa Valley.
About 34,000 people visit the arboretum every year.
HPD announces promotions
The Honolulu Police Department has promoted three officers, effective tomorrow.
Promoted to major was Capt. Alan Bluemke, a 21-year HPD veteran, currently executive officer for the Human Resources Division. He began his career as a beat officer in Kalihi and worked in the Criminal Investigations, Human Resources, Narcotics/Vice, and Specialized Services divisions.
Lt. Terrence Kong , head of HPD's Office of Accreditation, was promoted to captain. After joining HPD in 1979, Kong worked in the Downtown-Chinatown district and the Training, Narcotics/Vice, Central Receiving, Specialized Services, and Juvenile Services divisions.
Lt. Lester Hite, a 26-year HPD veteran, was promoted to captain. Currently assigned to Internal Affairs, Hite has worked in the Windward, Kalihi, and Waikiki districts. He was also a Narcotics/Vice Division supervisor.
Also, Specialist Hugo Okubo was promoted to forensic laboratory supervisor in the Scientific Investigation Section. He began working for HPD in 1989 and was an evidence specialist since 2003.
Okubo was promoted May 1.
Police, Fire, Courts
Fire extinguished near homes
Firefighters extinguished a blaze that burned about two acres and threatened two houses in Waialua yesterday.
The fire started about 10:50 a.m. in agricultural fields above Waialua High School, a half-mile from Farrington Highway, said fire Capt. Terry Seelig.
About 40 firefighters in 10 companies responded, including a helicopter that provided aerial observation.
The fire came within 20 yards of the homes, Seelig said. They brought the fire under control in 40 minutes and stayed for three more hours to mop up.
There were no injuries, evacuations or damage.
The cause is under investigation.
Man surrenders in armed robbery
Police charged a 34-year-old Waianae man who turned himself in after allegedly robbing a Honolulu store at knifepoint.
Jerone Batalona entered the store on June 9 and asked to look at the portable DVD players, then jumped the counter, brandished a knife and demanded money, police said. He fled with the money and no one was injured, police said.
Batalona turned himself into the Kapolei station on Friday night. He was charged with first-degree robbery. Bail was set at $15,000.
Swimmer drowns off Nanakuli shore
A 63-year-old woman apparently drowned while swimming in the ocean Saturday off Nanakuli.
The woman was found unresponsive in the ocean at about 1 p.m., police said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police classified the case as an unattended death and do not suspect foul play.
Authorities have not released her identification.
Accused arsonist caught in Waipahu
Police arrested a 44-year-old Waianae man for allegedly dousing mattresses with lighter fluid and setting them on fire in Waipahu yesterday.
According to police, several mattresses stacked in the parking lot of an apartment building on Awanei Street were set on fire. The blaze damaged a vehicle parked in a nearby stall. Witnesses identified the man and police arrested him on suspicion of second-degree arson.
5-car crash slows traffic on freeway
A five-vehicle accident backed up traffic yesterday in Aliamanu on the westbound side of Moanalua Freeway.
No one was injured in the 1:35 p.m. crash near the Puuloa Road exit, police said.
Authorities closed two far-right lanes as firefighters mopped up fluid spills from the accident.
All lanes were cleared by 2:20 p.m.
Officer assaulted while making bust
A 24-year-old Mililani woman allegedly kicked a police officer in the groin after she was arrested for allegedly abusing a family member early yesterday morning.
As a 36-year-old police officer walked her out of her Moha Street home about 1:50 a.m., she kicked him in the groin, according to police. They were both taken to Wahiawa General Hospital, where they were treated and released. It was unclear how the woman was injured. The woman was arrested on suspicion of abusing a family member and assaulting a police officer.