Stop Rail appeals ballot decision
An anti-rail group is not giving up on efforts to stop the city's $4 billion rail transit system.
After several failed attempts at creating a general election ballot question, Stop Rail Now appealed yesterday to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
"This is by no means over," said Earle Partington, the group's attorney. "It's not going to be over in the next couple of days."
City Clerk Denise De Costa ruled two weeks ago that the group collected 35,056 signatures of registered voters - short of the nearly 45,000 signatures it needed to create a ballot question asking voters to stop the city's planned elevated system from Kapolei to Ala Moana.
The group's time is running out - De Costa has already submitted the ballot information to the state Elections Office. Ballots are typically printed shortly after the primary election, which falls on Saturday.
According to the group's interpretation of the City Charter, organizers argue that they need a lower amount of about 30,000 signatures. The city clerk and a Circuit judge rejected their argument.
3 guilty in attack on ‘ice’ dealer
Three men charged with attempting to murder a drug dealer who them sold fake drugs last year were found guilty yesterday of second-degree assault.
An Oahu jury found Thomas Manijo, Steven Bihag and Mitchell Nacario guilty of the lesser offense yesterday. The three men face prison terms of up to five years when they are sentenced in January.
Prosecutors said the three men beat and stabbed Sheamon Yamasaki for delivering fake "ice" after he took $900 in exchange for crystal methamphetamine.
A man walking his dog along Cane Haul Road in Waialua found a badly beaten Yamasaki in some bushes June 22, 2007. The man took Yamasaki to the Waialua Fire Station. An ambulance later took him to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.
Yamasaki had two stab wounds to his chest, one of which punctured a lung, four stab wounds to his buttocks and some lacerations. He also suffered cracked ribs and fractures to his skull surrounding one of his eyes.
He testified in trial that he still suffers blurred vision in that eye and a broken finger in his left hand.
Isle Democrats have new director
Veteran Democratic political operative Chuck Freedman is the new executive director of the Hawaii Democratic Party. He served this year as administrative service manager to Rep. Kirk Caldwell (D, Manoa).
Freedman, along with local Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz, is co-founder of the Hawaii Draft Obama campaign. Freedman also served as a vice president of corporate relations for Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Freedman worked for former Lt. Gov. Jean King and served in the administration of former Gov. John Waihee as the director of communications.
Freedman succeeds Flo Kong Kee, who, after working for the Democrats for three years, took a position with a private nonprofit agency.
According to Schatz, Freedman agreed to serve through the end of the year.
3 more volunteers join storm aid
The Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross is sending three more volunteers to the Gulf Coast to help in providing aid to victims of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.
They will join the 24 Hawaii volunteers who were sent two weeks ago in advance of Hurricane Gustav.
The volunteers have been helping to provide thousands of meals and comfort kits to evacuees and opening shelters and setting up communications in Texas and Louisiana.
Anyone trying to reach loved ones can go to the Web site disastersafe.redcross.org or call (800) REDCROSS - (800) 733-2767.
To make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, go to www.redcross.org or call (800) REDCROSS or, in Spanish, (800) 257-7575. A cell phone can be used to donate $5 by text messaging "GIVE" to "2HELP" (24357).
Police, Fire, Courts
Suspect in attack on police gets bail
A 24-year-old man charged after he allegedly backed his car at two police officers and damaged a police car was released yesterday on bail.
Police officers stopped Jeffrey D. Augustine at 4:36 a.m. Sunday during a routine traffic stop at the zoo parking lot. Augustine could not produce a driver's license, but did provide a state identification card and claimed to have a Texas driver's license.
Police asked him to take a field sobriety test, but he allegedly refused and instead revved the car engine, police said. Officers then ordered him to turn off the engine and exit the car, but he allegedly refused, police said.
An officer sprayed him with pepper spray when he allegedly started to manipulate the gear shift, police said. He then reversed the car, causing officers to jump out of the way, and allegedly hit a patrol sergeant's car, causing minor damage, police said. Augustine turned himself in at the main police station.
The car was abandoned in front of the Hawaii Prince Hotel.
Augustine was charged with reckless driving, failure to obey a police officer and resisting a stop. He was released yesterday on $4,000 bail.
Police seek man after armed robbery
Police are looking for a man who robbed a 76 gas station in Pearl City at gunpoint Sunday.
Police said that at about 4:50 p.m. the man showed a handgun to a 26-year-old woman working in the store at 826 Kamehameha Highway, demanded money and fled.
Police did not provide a description of the suspect.
Maui brush fire claims 30 acres
A brush fire on Maui burned an estimated 30 acres in Haiku yesterday evening.
Fire crews from five engine companies battled the brush fire, reported at 5:51 p.m. yesterday near the surf area known as "Jaws." Two helicopters made water drops until nightfall.
An estimated 30 acres were burned by early evening on the makai side of Hana Highway.
The fire did not threaten any structures.