By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, October 24, 1997

Stender wants estate to agree to
permanent ban on deleting files

Bishop Estate trustee is endorsing a permanent court order prohibiting the destruction of any documents connected to the state's investigation of the estate.

Trustee Oswald Stender feels there would be "no harm" in agreeing to the order, which also would prevent the estate from retaliating against any employee who comes forward in the probe, according to a letter written yesterday by his attorney, Crystal K. Rose.

The letter to estate attorney William McCorriston instructs him to stipulate, or agree to, a permanent injunction being sought by state Attorney General Margery Bronster. A hearing on her motion is scheduled for today.

McCorriston could not be reached for comment.

He unsuccessfully fought the issuance of a temporary restraining order last week by Circuit Judge Kevin Chang.

In her letter, Rose said agreeing to the injunction "would protect the estate and prevent even the potential of destruction."

"The stipulation would provide additional assurances to the public that we mean what we say and that the estate does not condone such action," she wrote.

Bronster, in a letter dated Monday, also asked McCorriston to agree to the permanent ban.

Stender is the only trustee whose actions have been praised by critics of the board.

Chang issued the temporary order after the attorney general's office said it was told by an employee that trustee Lokelani Lindsey's secretary was deleting computer files. McCorriston this week said the secretary was doing nothing "nefarious" when she downloaded data from a computer hard drive onto five floppy disks. A preliminary investigation showed she did nothing improper, he said. Bishop Estate Archive

Story & photo by Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin
Sixty-four days after leaving Fort Bragg, Calif., rower
Mick Bird docks near the Naniloa Hotel in Hilo yesterday.

Rower follows his heart all the way from California to Hilo and beyond

HILO - Ignoring uncontrollable tears, Mick Bird stood in the cockpit of his 28-foot rowboat holding out a Hawaiian cloak to his mother, Patsy, who was waiting on a small dock in Hilo Bay.

"You gave me this kikepa," Bird said to his mother.

"You said it would keep me warm. It kept me warm inside and out. I bring it back to you now."

Bird, 41, yesterday completed a 64-day trip rowing from Fort Bragg, Calif. He noted that the United Parcel Service strike was still under way when he left.

This is the first leg of a trip that he plans to make around the world, rowing alone all the way.

Someone asked him why he's doing it.

"Because I thought of doing it, and the idea wouldn't go away," he said. The idea came to him 71/2 years ago, he said.

His first words after tying up at the dock at the Hawaii Naniloa Hotel were, "Where's my mom?"

Trying to calm his emotions, part-Hawaiian Bird quipped to a relative on shore, "I thought I'd take the long way." But a flood of tears accompanied by a flood of words followed.

"I just want to say, follow your heart," he said. "Don't forget your dreams. It can be done. Let people help you and believe in yourself and you'll be all right."

Then he thanked his wife, Stacia, for her patience. "I'm sorry you didn't know what you were getting into, babe," he said. "You never once faltered in support of my voyage."

A songwriter, he sang one of his own songs to his twin baby daughters, Kenna and Hayden.

During the voyage, "I was laughing at one moment. The next I would cry. Your feelings are all right up there," he said.

His wife said she "talked" to him twice a day via e-mail on a computer he carried on the boat. "That really helped," she said.

Toward the end, she asked him if he felt the experience would affect their relationship. "This brings us closer together," he told her.

The scariest part of his trip came at 2:30 a.m. one night when his collision avoidance radar woke him up with a tanker bearing down on him, Stacia said. It passed 500 yards away, a near miss in maritime terms, she said.

Once a 7-foot white-tipped shark followed him. "He enjoyed that," she said. He saw groups of hundreds of dolphins, she said. Flying fish jumped into his cockpit.

Bird plans to visit a North Kohala intermediate school where children followed his progress on the Internet, then leave Monday for his mother's home on Molokai.

Later, he'll return to California for the holidays, then return to Hawaii in March to start rowing to Australia.

'Town meeting' draws tree farm opponents

HILO - With the state Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting today to consider leasing 4,800 acres of state land to Oji Paper Co. to grow eucalyptus trees, more than a hundred people turned out at a "town meeting" last night to tell Gov. Ben Cayetano that it's a bad idea.

In the Hamakua District, where two eucalyptus projects will total 50,000 acres of state, county and private land, some residents have been saying the government lands should be reserved for small-scale farming.

Cayetano had planned the meeting to focus on his economic initiatives.

The 550-seat University of Hawaii at Hilo theater was filled nearly to capacity with people asking questions ranging from development of Hawaiian Home Lands to ways of making state contracts more accessible to small contractors.

Such topics brought occasional modest applause.

But numerous people carried signs inside and outside the auditorium opposing Oji, and the auditorium erupted with loud applause when speakers criticized the eucalyptus plans.

Joan Philipp of Hamakua asked the governor how he could justify leasing the state lands to Oji for 55 years.

Small-scale farming produces far more jobs than the 75 she said would be created by Oji's 25,000-acre project.

"We want to do what we can for ourselves," she told him.

Cayetano answered that people have talked about farming but no one has any specifics.

"I have asked groups, 'Do you have a business plan? Do you have any kind of plan, something that's real, something that has a lot of thought to it?'" he said.

State land board Chairman Mike Wilson said the state requested proposals for use of the land because the land has been sitting unused since 1994.

"Look at the terrain," said Agriculture Chairman James Nakatani. "The state lands are not the best lands for agriculture."

Questioner Howard Wright attacked Oji, presenting documents showing the company was fined $1.75 million in federal court in Massachusetts last year for conspiring to fix the price of fax paper.

Wright said two Oji officials left the United States rather than face charges.

Apparently caught unaware of the case, Cayetano at first asked for more information, then said, "If this is true, it's happened to General Motors and everybody else."

"The question of Oji's presence here should turn on the question of whether they are going to benefit the community," he said.

Man gets life plus 10 for murdering tourist

A Circuit Court judge has given a 29-year-old man consecutive sentences of life with possibility of parole plus 10 years for murdering a Waikiki tourist in 1993 and burglarizing her hotel room.

Judge Herbert Shimabukuro yesterday granted the government's request, giving Brian Luton a mandatory minimum of 10 years for second-degree murder and three years, four months for the burglary to be served consecutively.

Luton had been charged with first-degree sexual assault of an Aiea woman in 1989, but under a plea agreement pleaded guilty to a lesser sex-assault charge and got probation.

Deputy Prosecutor Maurice Arrisgado argued that Luton was a repeat offender of a serious offense, was a danger to the community and therefore should receive a consecutive sentence.

Luton murdered Joanna Larson-Hammink, 44, at the Aston Waikikian on the Beach on April 26, 1993, after burglarizing her room.

Akaka urges president to call ocean conference

U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka wants President Clinton to call a White House Conference on Oceans next year.

"Given the importance of the ocean to local communities and our nation's economy, it is imperative that we protect our oceans and coasts," Akaka said.

The senator sent the president a letter calling for the United States to take a leading role in ensuring a cleaner, healthier marine environment.

Next year will be the United Nations International Year of the Ocean.

Cannon Club's reopening, set for fall, is put on hold

Plans to reopen Fort Ruger's Cannon Club as a public restaurant this fall have been placed on hold.

The Army maintains that the club, located on the slopes of Diamond Head, will reopen, but can't give a definite date at this point.

"U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii is still pursuing the privatization of the Cannon Club," said Capt. Rob Rooker, 25th Infantry Division spokesman.

"The process of privatization is very slow and deliberate, involving several legal contracting issues. The process is still ongoing, and at this stage, it is too early to speculate on the future status of the Cannon Club."

As for the club's 25 employees, Rooker said they were placed in other facilities through a seniority placement system, offered other vacant positions or released.

Of that number, 15 were considered full-time and part-time workers and covered by priority job-placement rights.

So far, five were let go, one person retired and nine found new jobs.

Once considered the gem of the Army's club system in Hawaii, the 52-year-old Cannon Club closed its doors in June with plans to reopen this fall under new management and as a private operation open to the general public.

When it closed, the Diamond Head club only served dinners on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday brunches.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Info] section for subscription information.


By Star-Bulletin staff

Sex-assault suspect used stun gun

Police are looking for a man who allegedly zapped a Waikiki prostitute with a "stun gun" and then sexually assaulted her.

The couple met in Waikiki Wednesday morning and proceeded to the victim's apartment to engage in sex, police said.

Upon entering her home, he pulled out a stun gun and zapped her, sexually assaulted her and zapped her again, police said.

The suspect, a white male in his 30s, fled the scene in his "beat-up" white van, police said.

Four sought in robbery on Lanai

Police are looking for four men who robbed three people at the Lanai Lookout yesterday.

A man and two women from the downtown area drove up to the lookout at 1:45 a.m.

The four men pulled up next to them in a large domestic two-door vehicle.

One man pointed a handgun at one victim's head and demanded money and drugs, police said.

The suspects then fled with an undetermined amount of money.

Woman's death attributed to traffic

HILO - The death of a woman whose body was found lying on Ponahawai Street fronting Homelani Memorial Park on July 11 was traffic-related, police have determined.

They also identified the 34-year-old driver who struck Natlie Gacutan, 25, of no permanent address, that morning, they said.

The case has been sent to the prosecutor's office for possible charges, police said.

Gacutan died of head injuries consistent with being run over, an autopsy showed. She was seen earlier getting into a vehicle about three blocks from where she was found. Classification of her death as traffic-related brings the Big Island's traffic toll for the year to 28 compared with 30 at this time last year, they said.

Ala Moana store reports gas smell

The Honolulu Fire Department's Hazardous Materials team responded to complaints of a chemical smell at the Liberty House department store at Ala Moana Center yesterday.

The gasoline scent, reported primarily in the shoe and children's departments, was found to be coming from treated lumber from construction at the center, fire officials said.

The smell got into the building's air conditioning system just after noon.

The construction crew told fire officials they would work on alleviating the smell.

One employee reported headaches and burning around the mouth area but remained on the job.

Passenger dies on flight from Fiji

An 82-year-old passenger of an Air New Zealand flight to Honolulu was found dead in the airplane yesterday morning.

Witnesses told police he appeared to be sleeping on the flight departing Fiji at about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Upon arrival a few hours later, the man was found dead.

Police said nothing appears to be suspicious in the death. A positive identification has not been made of the man.

5,427 pot plants uprooted in Hilo

HILO - Police seized 5,427 marijuana plants in the Hilo area and Puna District yesterday, they said, bringing the total for three days of eradication to 21,678 plants.

Auto theft suspect found on Big Isle

HILO - Acting on a CrimeStoppers tip, Big Island police arrested Isaac K. Ching, 21, of Honolulu yesterday for attempted auto theft on Oahu, they said.

He is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

4 held for allegedly firing shotgun

Police arrested four Waianae men for allegedly firing a shotgun in Maili.

Witnesses told police that four men in a 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass fired a shot into the air and fled.

The men, age 18, 19, 21 and 22, were arrested for firearms violations and reckless endangerment.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Info] section for subscription information.

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