Newswatch


By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, November 23, 1996




By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Volunteers are repainting the Arizona Memorial in preparation
for Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th. Two volunteers, Erick Bjorkland,
left, and Tom Hopkins, prepare to catch a line thrown by
Elia Tupuola from the approaching painters' barge.


Operation Kokua cleans coast

Over 500 are expected for the military,
civilian effort in affected areas

By Helen Altonn
Star-Bulletin



The overpowering aroma of pig manure hung in the cafeteria at Maile Elementary School early today as Gov. Ben Cayetano and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirano met with about 50 government and military officials to plan cleanup efforts along the flood-ravaged Waianae Coast and the North Shore.

About 500 people were expected to take part in the effort, dubbed "Operation Kokua," including about 300 Army and Air National Guard personnel, 100 state civil-service workers, 30 Navy personnel and up to 100 city and county workers, as well as community volunteers. Some 72 vehicles were to be used.

Festering solid waste, much of it from piggeries and chicken farms above the shoreline, is a prime concern, officials said.

"We're kind of concerned about the health and welfare of our own people out there, too," said Col. Myron Dobashi, commander, 201st Combat Communications Group, Hawaii Air National Guard and task-force commander for Operation Kokua.

The state Department of Health was to apply a deodorant to some areas affected by the stench.

Maj. Gen. Edward V. Richardson, state adjutant general and state Department of Defense director, said they will be looking at ways to prevent the problem in the future.

Cayetano said that federal money might be needed to repair a drainage problem in the Lualualei area to prevent the same problems with the next storm.

"We can do the basic stuff right now," Cayetano said, "but the capital improvements stuff, we have to talk to our congressional delegation."

The governor said the military has an efficient drainage system in the area, but the civilian system is "all clogged."

Cayetano said the operation is necessary to reduce the threat of infectious diseases to families in Maili, Nanakuli, Waianae and Haleiwa.

The Hawaii National Guard, state Civil Defense and Department of Health are working on the project with the city and county of Honolulu, active-duty military units and communities.

Workers were to begin at about 8 a.m. clearing drainage systems and picking up storm debris, damaged household items and furniture, metals and hazardous materials.

Cayetano said the project's success depends upon residents taking their garbage and debris to the roadside for pickup today and tomorrow.

Items should be separated into three categories: household garbage, including damaged furniture; green waste, such as tree branches and metals, and hazardous materials, such as paints and thinners.

The operation is being conducted in these areas:

Waivers will be obtained from property owners before crews enter private property.

Meanwhile, the state Health Department has removed warning signs from Oahu's leeward and north shore beaches; these beaches include Makaha, Pokai Bay, Waianae, Maili, Lualualei, Haleiwa and Kaiaka.



People still needing help
may call the Red Cross at 734-2101.


Hepatitis A tests set for over 200

The state and the Hilton will screen
hotel food workers after a new case

By Jim Witty
Star-Bulletin



The state Department of Health and the Hilton Hawaiian Village will screen more than 200 hotel food service employees for hepatitis A.

The decision follows lab tests that determined a fourth Hilton Hawaiian Village restaurant worker contracted hepatitis A after eating food prepared for an Oct. 4 reception at the governor's mansion.

The screenings will involve between 200 and 250 employees who have not yet been tested, said state epidemiologist Dr. Richard Vogt.

The Hilton has also requested that all employees not already immune be vaccinated. Those who are found to have acute cases of the disease will be placed on sick leave until they recover.

"People who ate dinner or drank beverages at the Village Steak and Seafood Restaurant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 16-19 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. may also be at risk of catching hepatitis A," Vogt warned.

People who may have come into contact with the infected food should receive immune globulin immunizations, he advised.

There have been 37 hepatitis A cases linked to food prepared for the Oct. 4 Washington Place event. Five of those are food-service employees at two hotels. The health department has determined that the outbreak likely began with contaminated seafood, either from shipment or by someone who came in contact with the food. The Health Department is also considering a possible contamination source to have been the ice bath the seafood was sitting in before it was served.


‘Blood was running out of him,’
Sunset Beach man says

He called 911 the night a cop was badly beaten

By Linda Hosek
Star-Bulletin



Sunset Beach resident Garth Johnson woke from a sound sleep to what he described as "a very loud, desperate cry for help" outside his second-floor apartment.

Johnson called 911, grabbed his flashlight and looked into the face of James Boreczky, a Chicago police officer, who sprayed blood when he tried to talk.

"Blood was just running out of him," Johnson said yesterday as he testified in the first-degree robbery trial of Rodney Balbirona, 18, and Darrell Ortiz, 22.

The state has accused Ortiz and Balbirona of causing serious bodily injury to Boreczky on April 22 when they allegedly beat him and stole his possessions, including a Member's Only leather jacket and about $400 in cash. Each faces a 20-year term if convicted.

Boreczky, 33, had cut short a visit to his brother on the North Shore and was at a Kamehameha Highway bus stop at the time of the midnight incident.

He suffered multiple facial fractures, two black eyes, a broken nose and a broken jaw. He also has metal plates in his cheeks and remained on medical leave for four months.

Dennis R. Jones, a Kahuku High School teacher who had Balbirona in his special education class in April, also testified yesterday in the trial before Circuit Court Judge Sandra Simms.

He said Balbirona had told him he was involved in the incident, but had said: "We never meant for it to be as bad as it was."

Jones testified Balbirona said they just wanted to rob the guy, figuring that someone out that late with a suitcase either had cash or drugs.

He added that Balbirona said the victim "just wouldn't knock out."

Jones said he told Balbirona: "You know you did something really wrong. You'll have to pay for this. You have to turn yourself in."

Under cross-examination by Keith Shigetomi, Balbirona's attorney, Jones said he trusted Balbirona when he said he would go to the police.

Jones also said he believed Balbirona used "we" in the collective sense when he said in a police interview: "So we knocked him out, and we took everything."

Balbirona has said he took Boreczky's property, but didn't beat him.

Jones said he didn't ask Balbirona exactly what he did, but that the student was remorseful when describing the incident: "He had his head down most of the time."

The state has alleged that Balbirona and Ortiz were riding bicycles when they saw Boreczky and asked if he had a light. Boreczky testified that he started to run across the street when they beat and robbed him.

Don Wilkerson, Ortiz's attorney, said Ortiz has an alibi and didn't participate in the incident.

A 14-year-old minor who rode on Balbirona's bicycle and received $100 of Boreczky's cash is expected to testify Monday for the state.

He is expected to say that Ortiz participated in the incident.

Deputy Prosecutor Maurice Arrisgado said the state agreed to prosecute the minor for fourth-degree theft, a petty misdemeanor that carries a term of up to 30 days in a detention center.


Maui panel nominee once arrested for drugs

The candidate to succeed Tom Morrow denied the arrest
at a public hearing this week

By Gary Kubota
Star-Bulletin



WAILUKU - Despite his denial of a drug arrest, court records show a leading nominee to succeed the late Maui Councilman Thomas Morrow was indicted and arrested for allegedly promoting cocaine.

Jamie "Kalani" English, now 30, was indicted by an Oahu grand jury on April 20, 1988, on a charge of promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree. He was arrested on the charge May 4, 1988, according to court records.

English pleaded guilty to the charge, but Oahu Circuit Judge Wendell Huddy deferred acceptance of the guilty plea if English kept out of trouble. In 1990, Huddy determined that English complied with the conditions and dismissed the charge.

Rumors of English's drug involvement played a role in the Maui Council's review of his nomination as a successor to Morrow, who died in a Nov. 1 airplane crash on Molokai.

English, chairman of the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission and chief of staff to state Sen. Avery Chumbley, needed a five-vote majority but was able to muster only four votes.

Mayor Linda Crockett Lingle will name a successor to fill Morrow's current term through year's end; the council in January will revisit the naming of a successor for the new term Morrow won posthumously on Nov. 5.

During a public hearing Wednesday night, when asked by Maui Councilman Robert Monden about rumors of his past drug abuse and drug possession, English said, "No, it is not true. My record is clean."

"You were never, never arrested for ...?" Monden asked.

"No, I was not arrested," English said.

Contacted by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin about the court records yesterday, English said in a prepared statement:

" ... When I was a student, I made a mistake. The court deferred accepting my plea because the judge felt that I should be given a second chance. The intent of this judicial process was to prevent what happened from ever being used against me. The charges were dismissed and I was not convicted of any crime.

"What's more, the state Attorney General's office sent me a letter specifically authorizing me 'to state in response to any question or inquiry ... that (I) have no record' regarding the mistake I made. This is what I did to the best of my ability when questioned by Councilmember Bob Monden.

"I hope the public will be understanding in this matter and will continue to support me."

The indictment against English charged him with committing the drug offense in Honolulu on April 11, 1987.

English, then a third-year student at Hawaii Loa College, pleaded guilty to the charge before Huddy on Sept. 19, 1988. "I had cocaine in my possession," English said in his written plea agreement then.

The felony carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

On Oct. 25, 1988, Huddy granted a two-year deferred acceptance of a guilty plea to English - which means the court sets aside the guilty plea and the charge could be dismissed if English abided with the court's order for two years.

Under the order, English was to serve 50 hours of community service and submit to drug testing at his own expense as directed by the adult probation division.

Huddy decided that English had complied with the terms of the court order and dismissed the drug charge on Dec. 6, 1990. Records about his criminal case were expunged, giving him a clean criminal record reflecting no conviction.



See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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