By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, December 27, 1997

Blast at UH carefully kept under control

An explosion at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday on the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus set off car alarms, but neighbors and people working in the area were unconcerned.

It was a carefully controlled blast -- the first of a series scheduled by the UH until about 5 p.m. to dispose of about 20 pounds of stored chemicals.

The project posed no danger, but residents above the site were notified there would be noise. People were kept 400 feet away from the blasting zone.

The explosions were set off in a vacant area at the far end of the campus behind a grove of trees and several dozen impounded rusting mopeds. The site is next to the UH Environmental Health and Safety Office and behind the Pacific Biomedical Research Center.

The build-up of hazardous materials in storage at the university and the Dec. 8 explosion of a flask of perchloric acid that injured a chemist have prompted tighter controls on chemicals.

New procedures have been instituted for at least 50 chemicals that are toxic or hard to dispose of, said Roy Takekawa, director of the UH Environmental Health and Safety Office.

Today's explosion was believed to be the first on campus to dispose of chemicals.

Waikiki paper racks might be replaced

Publications in Waikiki would have to be in city-owned boxes under a bill now before the City Council.

A leading critic of the sprawl of racks on the streets joined Honolulu publishers in expressing satisfaction at the compromise bill.

"It will be a lot better than the shabby system they have now," said Waikiki resident James Korus.

In August, Korus and five friends moved about 20 publication racks on Kuhio Avenue because they thought they were illegally placed.

Waikiki Councilman Duke Bainum, who introduced the bill, said the proliferation of racks has "gotten out of hand." Racks of various shapes and sizes can be found near driveways, bus stops and narrow sidewalk areas.

The bill calls for the city to put up publication-dispensing "modules" at 65 locations similar to about 40 dispensers now on Kalakaua Avenue.

The Kalakaua boxes, however, are made of concrete and cost roughly up to $10,000 each, while the ones being considered now would be made of galvanized steel and cost about $5,000, said Ben Lee, Mayor Jeremy Harris' chief of staff.

The Kalakaua boxes were put up in the 1980s after complaints about unsightliness.

Lee estimated that there are about 500 stands in Waikiki at about 100 locations.

McCartney will leave state Senate, help Cayetano

Senate co-Majority Leader Mike McCartney says it is up to the voters in his Kahuku-to-Kaneohe district to decide who should replace him.

The Kaneohe Democrat, who is stepping down when his term ends in November, said yesterday he will not be campaigning for any particular person to succeed him.

But McCartney said he will work in Gov. Ben Cayetano's re-election campaign next year although he has no expectation of an administration job if Cayetano wins a second term.

"My connection is more personal than political," added McCartney, a protege of Cayetano's chief of staff, Charles Toguchi.

Perfect Title trial set for Feb. 17

A Perfect Title Co. co-founder and two others indicted for attempted first-degree theft are scheduled to begin trial the week of Feb. 17.

Donald A. Lewis, a company co-founder, and Michael and Carol Simafranca Friday pleaded not guilty in Circuit Court to the charges during their arraignment.

State officials allege that they tried to deprive an Aiea couple of their home by trying to gain unauthorized control over it from July 16, 1996, through April 10.

The Simafrancas also were indicted for first-degree burglary for allegedly unlawfully entering the residence to commit a crime.

David Keanu Sai, also a company co-founder, is scheduled for arraignment Monday for attempted first-degree theft. If convicted as charged, they face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.

The Simafrancas had lost the Aiea home through foreclosure. But they tried to regain ownership based on a title search by Perfect Title and a deed issued by Sai, whom they recognized as the Hawaiian kingdom regent.

Perfect Title Co. has caused conflict in Hawaii's real-estate industry by doing searches on local properties and finding the titles invalid.

Court master's payment approved for $102,433

Probate Judge Colleen Hirai has approved payment of $102,433 to Colbert Matsumoto for reviewing Bishop Estate's 1993-94 accounts.

Matsumoto, the estate's court-appointed master, submitted a report last month criticizing the charitable trust for recording losses and loss reserves of up to $264 million in the 1994 fiscal year.

The payment covers $36,315.37 for fees and expenses incurred by his law firm, Matsumoto LaFountaine & Chow. It also includes $59,992.63 for services from the accounting firm of Shigemura & Sakamaki and $6,125 for services of trust expert Edward C. Halbach Jr.

Matsumoto said his fees and expenses totaled $70,461.38 through Oct. 31, but he was asking only for partial payment because his work on the estate's 109th annual account is not finished.

Bishop Estate Archive

Maui residential project halted for environmental assessment

NAPILI, Maui -- Construction has stopped at the 296-unit Napilihau Villages because of a state Supreme Court ruling requiring an environmental assessment of the project.

But nearby residents fear the first phase of the 17-acre development, located south and seaside of the Napili Fire Station, may have already done environmental damage to Alaeloaiki Bay in west Maui.

"We get a greater volume of water in a short period of time, and it's still muddy. We really object to that," said Norman Sanders, resident manager of Alaeloa Residential Condominium.

More than a month after the court's decision, county officials and residents are still trying to determine the decision's effect.

Condominium owners along the shoreline have praised the decision as improving public review of building projects.

Attorneys for the developer and county say it could lead to more paperwork.

JGL Enterprises Inc., the developer, submitted an environmental assessment last week to comply with the court's decision.

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