Tiger sharks spotted off Big Isle
The state warned yesterday that tiger sharks have been sighted along the northwest coast of the Big Island.
The sharks, between 8 and 15 feet long, were spotted near Hapuna Beach and Spencer Park in South Kohala on Tuesday and near Kona Village, Kukio Bay, Kiholo Bay and Maumae Beach yesterday.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Hawaii Fire Department Ocean Safety Division urged beachgoers to use caution and obey posted warnings.
Help on the way for Oahu traffic
A pilot program is under way to help reduce gridlock on Oahu's freeways during peak traffic.
The Department of Transportation recently awarded a $3.9 million contract to Telvent Farradyne Inc., an international information technology company, to develop and manage a program called Freeway Service Patrol.
Under the pilot program, service trucks are slated to patrol the H-1 and Moanalua freeways during peak hours in the mornings and late afternoons. Service trucks will help stranded motorists, clear minor delays and assist law enforcement with traffic safety in the event of an accident.
According to state transportation officials, similar programs in some U.S. cities demonstrated a reduction in fuel costs for motorists as well as traffic delays.
State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said the program will benefit isle motorists. Every minute a vehicle is stalled on the roadway results in 10 more minutes in traffic for other motorists, said Morioka in a news release.
Service trucks are slated to start patrolling in the spring.
Mikulina to head up new project
A new nonprofit organization that seeks to make Hawaii a clean-energy role model has picked veteran environmental advocate Jeff Mikulina as executive director.
Mikulina was director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii for the past 10 years, leading lobbying efforts for legislation that makes solar heating a standard feature on new homes and sets a cap on Hawaii's future greenhouse emissions.
He will head the Blue Planet Foundation, which was created last year by millionaire software entrepreneur Henk Rogers, whose Hawaii-based Blue Planet Software company manages intellectual property rights for the computer game "Tetris."
Mikulina will oversee operations of the foundation, which is funded by Henk and Akemi Rogers and other corporate contributions, according to a spokeswoman. He will implement the goals through fundraising, forming strategic partnerships and tracking developments in technology, legislation, research and government policy, according to the statement.
Isle credit union warns of scams
The HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union is warning the public about two separate scams involving the institution.
The first is a phone scam from a company identifying itself as the credit union, notifying people that their Visa debit card won them a free trip and free gas, and then asking to verify their address.
The second is a text message scam notifying the recipient that their HawaiiUSA FCU account was frozen, and to call (720) 864-1213 to update their account.
The public is warned not to give out their information in response to the call or text message. The credit union states it did not initiate either solicitation and is in the process of contacting federal authorities.
Police, Fire, Courts
Kauai victim coming out of coma
KILAUEA, Kauai » A 22-year-old college student is slowly coming out of a coma two weeks after being beaten at a party at Anini Beach Park.
Christopher Owens, a student at the California Maritime Academy, was at a party Aug. 21 when he was beaten by three or four men, his mother, Julia Owens, said this week.
Owens was taken to Wilcox Hospital and later airlifted to the Queen's Medical Center, where he remains heavily sedated, his mother said.
He suffered a stroke due to the trauma and has experienced some paralysis, she added.
Kauai police said they are investigating the incident, and any witnesses should contact Sgt. Todd Tanaka at 241-1694.
Husband allegedly punches out wife
Police arrested a 40-year-old Nuuanu man who allegedly punched his wife until she lost consciousness, causing serious injury to her head, police said.
Police said the incident happened at about 12:35 a.m. yesterday at the couple's Huake Place home.
Police said the woman, 43, was taken to a nearby hospital where it was determined she had a fracture of the bone around the eye. The man fled before the police arrived but turned himself in at the Kalihi police station at 1:50 yesterday morning. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault.
Victim shot after disrupting burglary
A Village Park man was seriously wounded after interrupting two men who were burglarizing his home, police said.
Shortly before 9:30 Tuesday night, the 37-year-old victim got home to 94-1027 Hapapa St. and found two men inside his house.
Police said the men demanded money. When the victim refused, one of the men fired two shots, striking the victim in his right hand and thigh, police said. The suspects, who are described as in their late 20s, fled.
The victim was taken in serious condition to a nearby hospital.
Crash with truck kills motorcyclist
A 55-year-old Waikoloa man died Tuesday after the motorcycle he was driving crashed into a truck.
Shortly before 3:28 p.m. a 66-year-old Hawi man was driving a 1999 Ford pickup truck north on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he made a left turn onto Mauna Lani Drive in front of a 2008 Honda motorcycle driven by Ricardo Pinto. The truck then hit a sedan driven by a 24-year-old Honokaa woman, police said.
Big Island Fire Department personnel took Pinto to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:08 p.m. Police determined that speed was not a factor, but have not determined whether alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash.
The pickup driver was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide but was released pending further investigation.
Pinto, who is the 18th Big Island traffic fatality so far this year, was wearing a helmet, police said.
There were 26 Big Island traffic fatalities at this time last year.