Mayor Kim released from Queen's
HILO » Big Island Mayor Harry Kim was released from the Queen's Medical Center yesterday following heart surgery. Doctors performed triple bypass surgery Sunday.
"He'll be staying in Honolulu for a few more days before returning to Hilo," said Dixie Kaetsu, the county's managing director who has taken over as acting mayor.
His office described him as doing "very well."
Kim suffered a heart attack while at work early Sept. 11, but was able to drive himself to the nearest fire station for help. It was his third heart attack in three years.
Contractor withdraws UH protest
CO-HA Builders has withdrawn its complaint that, along with another protest, was holding up resurfacing of Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex -- the Warriors football team's practice field.
But Ching's Nursery, the fourth-lowest bidder on the project to resurface the field with synthetic turf, is continuing to challenge the University of Hawaii's awarding of the contract to RMY Construction for $862,381.
Ching's Nursery, doing business as Service Contracting, said in its protest that it opposed the contract award because the contractor and subcontractor did not have the proper specialty license to do the work.
The state Contractors License Board, which makes guidelines for the type of license needed, recommended a synthetic turf license, but has said its decision was nonbinding and a guideline only.
UH requested that the protest be dismissed and is awaiting a ruling from a hearings officer with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
"If the legal obstacles can be removed and we can quickly begin work on the project, there is still a chance that the new field can be used this season by our football team, as well as other groups," said UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw in a news release.
CO-HA Builders, the second-lowest bidder, submitted a protest after UH awarded the contract on Aug. 13.
Cancer sidelines university leader
Chaminade University President Sue Wesselkamper is on a leave of absence because of a recurrence of cancer.
The Catholic university's board of regents approved the leave, effective yesterday. It was advised by her doctors because of continuing effects from her surgery for bile duct cancer and the apparent recurrence of a tumor, according to an announcement. She returned to work after a few months of sick leave in 2005, according to a spokeswoman.
Wesselkamper, 66, has been Chaminade president since 1995, the first woman to head a college in Hawaii.
Marianist Brother Bernie Ploeger, the university's vice president and provost, will serve as acting president.
Abercrombie pushes Filipino bill
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and other leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus urged colleagues to take action on a veterans' bill that would provide a special pension and other benefits to thousands of Filipino veterans who fought alongside U.S. forces in their country during World War II.
The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act was passed out of the Senate in April by a 96-1 vote, but has not been taken up in the House.
"Legislation to restore promised benefits has been repeatedly introduced since 1992," Abercrombie said in a news release. "No other group of veterans has been systematically denied these benefits. It's time to end six decades of broken promises."
Roughly 120,000 Filipinos were drafted in 1941 to serve alongside U.S. forces in defending the Philippines -- an American commonwealth at the time -- during World War II. Those Filipinos were promised the same veterans benefits as American servicemen, but Congress rescinded the pledge in 1946, when the Philippines gained independence.
4.3-magnitude quake hits Big Isle
A 4.3-magnitude earthquake shook the southeastern region of the Big Island last night.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the small quake struck at 5:59 p.m. and was centered about 10 miles south of Fern Forest. The quake was felt by some residents in Hilo, 26 miles north of the epicenter.
Police, Fire, Courts
Hibachi blamed in half-acre fire
A man living in the woods accidentally started a wildfire yesterday that burned about a half-acre at the end of Pupukea Road on the North Shore, officials said.
A police helicopter noticed smoke about 11 a.m. about a half-mile from the Boy Scouts' Camp Pupukea and called the fire department, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig.
Police said responding officers stopped a 29-year-old man who had been living in the area for about four months as he was walking out of the ravine onto Pupukea Road.
The man said he had fired up his hibachi and had fallen asleep, police said.
Firefighters responded with two engines, a tanker and a helicopter.
They contained the fire, which did not threaten any structures, at about noon and extinguished the fire a couple hours later. No one was injured.
Dead man found along Ala Wai
An unidentified man's body was found yesterday morning behind the Hawaii Convention Center near Waikiki, police said.
About 6:45 a.m., a caller reported finding a body on the Ala Wai promenade behind the convention center, police said. An unattended-death case has been opened.
Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, said the man was pronounced dead at 7:18 a.m.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office completed an autopsy on the man, but said the cause of his death is pending investigation.
The man's identity was being withheld pending notification of relatives.
Man arrested in lipstick theft
Police arrested a 46-year-old man who allegedly stole dozens of lipstick containers from a store in Waikiki.
The man entered the store about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday and put 35 boxes of Magic Kiss lipstick into a duffel bag and walked out without paying for them, according to police.
The suspect was stopped outside the store by a security guard and held until police arrived.
Officers arrested the man for investigation of second-degree theft.
Alleged snatcher loses her own bag
A 26-year-old woman was arrested after allegedly stealing another woman's purse and dragging the victim to a waiting getaway car.
Police said a 43-year-old woman was walking along Nahua Street about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday when a woman came up from behind her and grabbed the purse on her right arm.
The two struggled and the suspect pulled on the bag, dragging the victim several feet to a getaway car, police said.
Another woman was sitting in the driver's seat of the car, according to police. A 37-year-old man intervened and retrieved the victim's bag and another bag from the car, a gray sport utility vehicle. The two female suspects drove away.
About 2:35 p.m., the suspect called 911 to report that her bag had been stolen. She met officers near the spot of the initial purse-snatching. Officers suspected something amiss and contacted the victim and witness, who identified the suspect as the woman who had stolen the bag.
The suspect was arrested for investigation of second-degree robbery.
Help find missing Big Island man
Big Island police are asking for the public's help in finding an 85-year-old Mountain View man reported missing yesterday.
Loy Hancock, who has Alzheimer's disease, was last seen at 10 a.m. in his Eden Roc home, where he lived with his son. He was wearing a plaid long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, blue-silver tennis shoes and glasses. He uses a walking cane and may be wearing a lauhala hat.
Hancock is 6 feet, about 172 pounds, and is balding with white hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 935-3311, Crime Stoppers in Hilo at 961-8300 or in Kona at 329-8181.