Council to pick new Kauai mayor
KAPAA, Kauai » Kauai officials announced yesterday they will choose a successor after Mayor Bryan Baptiste's memorial service on July 6.
According to the County Charter, a Council member will be selected by the Council to serve as mayor until an election can be held in November.
Acting Mayor Gary Heu has met with Council Chairman Kaipo Asing, County Attorney Matthew Pyun and County Clerk Peter Nakamura to come up with a plan to make the succession as smooth as possible.
The special Council meeting will be held in accordance with the Sunshine Law, meaning its agenda will be released six days prior to the meeting.
Although no date has been set, the special meeting could take place as early as the week of July 7, county officials said in a news release.
After the mayor is selected, the Council will select another Council member. Four of the remaining six would have to agree on the selection. If they do not do so after 30 days, the new mayor would pick the new member of the Council.
The details on the fall election, including whether a primary will be held, are still under discussion, county officials said.
Accused copper thief to face trial
The suspected leader of a copper theft ring on Oahu will face trial in state court.
A Honolulu district judge ordered James Bronson Taylor Jr., 43, yesterday to face the charges of copper theft and second-degree criminal property damage in Circuit Court.
Taylor remains in custody, unable to post $25,000 bail.
Theft of copper and second-degree criminal property damage are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.
A state deputy sheriff conducting surveillance on the H-1 freeway near the Makakilo Drive overpass caught Taylor Sunday after he had allegedly pulled approximately 180 feet of copper wire from a street light post.
The state Department of Transportation said the wire weighs 70 pounds and is worth $2,000.
Homeless shelter receives grant
LIHUE » The state has released $73,000 to help finance a new kitchen at the Manaolana emergency homeless shelter.
Kauai Economic Opportunity Inc., which leases the site from Kauai County and operates the facility, will use the state capital improvement grant to renovate space for the kitchen to provide meals for people staying at the shelter. The new kitchen will also provide opportunities to train individuals in food preparation.
A portion of the grant will fund the installation of a grease trap and the purchase of kitchen equipment.
In addition to the state funds, KEO has secured a community development block grant as well as a private grant from the Hawaii Hotel Association for the purchase of a commercial refrigerator.
Manaolana, the first homeless shelter on Kauai, was first opened in November in a partnership between the county, state and KEO.
The facility has the ability to house 39 people, both as a night-to-night emergency shelter and as a transitional housing center for families, who can stay up to two years.
Officials estimate that there are approximately 900 homeless on Kauai.
Court seeks input on judges
Chief Justice Ronald Moon is soliciting public comment on the nominees to Maui District Court.
Current Judge Douglas Ige retires today.
The candidates submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission are Mimi DesJardins, Michelle Drewyer, Mark Honda, Tracy Ann Jones, Kelsey Kawano and Robert Rivera.
Anyone who would like to comment on the character and qualifications of the nominees should send their written comments by fax at 539-4703 or by mail to Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, Supreme Court of Hawaii, 417 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96813.
People can also deliver their written comments to the Supreme Court Clerk's Office at 417 S. King St.
The postmark, fax and delivery deadline is July 7.
Police, Fire, Courts
Crash victim ID'd as Mililani man
A man who died when his sport utility vehicle overturned after being hit by another vehicle on the H-1 freeway has been identified by the Honolulu Medical Examiner's office as 54-year-old Charles Yukitaka Hiromasa of Mililani.
About 10:26 a.m. Wednesday, Hiromasa was driving town-bound in the centermost lane of the H-1 just past the H-1/H-2 merge when a vehicle entered his lane and hit his vehicle, causing his SUV to hit a light pole and flip over, police said. He died at the scene. He is the 24th person to die on Oahu roads this year, compared with 36 at this time last year.
13 children among 16 injured in crash
Paramedics took 13 children and three adults to the hospital in stable condition yesterday after a two-vehicle accident in Kunia, city Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic said.
The accident occurred at 8:41 a.m. when a large passenger van loaded with 13 children from Camp Timberline and two adults rear-ended a car near Hawaii Country Club, according to Cheplic.
Two ambulances took the children and two adults from the van and the driver of the sedan to Hawaii Medical Center-West.
Traffic was rerouted while Kunia Road was shut down in both directions near the Hawaii Country Club because of downed power lines resulting from the accident.
Man is charged in assault of teen
A 43-year-old Waianae man was charged yesterday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a Waianae home.
The girl reported the man had allegedly sexually assaulted her at her home May 31 to June 1, police said.
Anthony Lowthey was charged yesterday with four counts of first-degree sexual assault and 10 counts of third-degree sexual assault. Bail was set at $300,000.
Habitat of rare species burns
A brush fire consumed about 95 acres above the windmills near Maalaea, Maui, yesterday afternoon.
The fire struck the habitat of threatened and endangered species, but it is unknown whether any plant or animal species were affected.
State Division of Forestry and Wildlife personnel and 11 county wild-land firefighters fought the blaze, assisted by two helicopters, which conducted water drops.
The fire was first reported at 5:09 p.m. yesterday and reached an area about two miles above the Ukumehame Firing Range.
Wind farm workers shuttled water using a 4,000-gallon water tender.
Acting Battalion Chief David Thyne said, "The rough terrain made accessibility difficult for firefighters."
No one was injured and no residential areas were nearby. The cause of the fire is under investigation.