Newswatch

Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, July 8, 1998

Gov to break ground for Ward extension

Envisioning a waterfront promenade where people can dine on seafood, ride bikes, play in the park and visit museums and shop, Gov. Ben Cayetano was to break ground today for the $6.6 million Ward Avenue Extension Project.

The project will demolish old buildings and extend Ward Avenue across Ala Moana into the waterfront area, opposite Ward Warehouse.

"The major importance of the road construction is to open it up for commercial development," said Jan Yokota, Hawaii Community Development Authority executive director. "The state will offer up 18 acres for development later this month."

The two-phase project will take 15-18 months. The first phase will level buildings in the Kewalo Basin area; phase two, set for October start, will entail road improvements and infrastructure.

A new bikeway will connect Ala Moana Regional Park and Kakaako Waterfront Park along the water.

Episcopal Homes declares bankruptcy

Developers of a planned $150 million Kahala retirement community that was stalled four years ago by financial difficulty have initiated bankruptcy proceedings in federal court.

Episcopal Homes of Hawaii has debts totaling $16.4 million and assets of $587 in a bank account, according to the Chapter 11 filing last month.

The Hale O Malia project put together in the late 1980s called for construction on seven acres of land adjacent to Star of the Sea School. Ground was never broken but $12.4 million was spent in planning and marketing of the project, which included 320 independent-living apartments, 60 assisted-living units and a skilled nursing facility.

The Episcopal Church in Hawaii is the largest creditor, left on the hook for a $4 million loan when the project unraveled in early 1994. The financial debacle led to the resignation of former Episcopal Bishop Donald Hart that year.

Other major creditors are the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii, owed $1 million for a loan it assumed, and Fletcher Pacific Construction, owed $1,777,000.

The bankruptcy filing does not mean an end to the project, said Episcopal Homes President Charles O. Swanson. "We still think it's a good project. We have excellent people working on it.

"We're trying to reorganize the finances so we can get the troubles behind us. It is strictly reorganization."

Concern over drug bust closes child-care home

A Foster Village woman has been forced to shut down her home child-care business due to a household member's arrest for allegedly manufacturing the so-called "date-rape drug."

Floraine Grace, 66, has a clean record for child care but the state yesterday suspended her license because of the probe involving her son-in-law Stevan Eberhardt.

"We've never had any bad reports or complaints about her, but we had to suspend her license indefinitely until we know all the facts of the investigation," Garry Kemp of the state Human Services Department said.

"It's an unfortunate situation, but we have to protect the children and cannot assume anything."

A preliminary hearing, meanwhile, was scheduled today for Eberhardt, 45, who claims he was using the drug gamma hydroxy-buterate or GHB to treat himself for symptoms of hepatitis C.

The eight pounds seized at the Olino Street house is worth an estimated $37,000, say investigators.

HFD suspects fireworks in Makakilo brushfire

Fireworks may have started a brush fire in Makakilo that scorched about 2,000 acres and took more than 50 hours to contain.

"We've heard reports that someone saw a kid playing with fireworks where the fire started," said Gordon Mahiko, an assistant chief for the Honolulu Fire Department. "It wasn't somebody 10 or 11 years old, more like 16 or 17.

"The problem really comes down to supervision and education. This type fire is wasteful."

The fire started Sunday at about 4:30 p.m. on the lower mauka slopes of Makakilo, climbed the slopes to Palehua and eventually spread to Kahe Point before being contained yesterday.

Two Hawaii Army National Guard helicopters with 2,000-gallon water buckets aided firefighters for 2-1/2 hours yesterday and dropped an estimated 44,000 gallons of water on hot spots.

"It's pretty much under control," Mahiko said. "The wind was our biggest problem."

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Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Man sought after teen shot near Punchbowl

Police are searching for a man who shot a 16-year-old girl last night in the Punchbowl area.

At about 11:45 p.m. the Maunawili girl and her friends were parked near a building at 1420 Alapai St. when one of them saw a man on the third floor with a gun in his waistband, police said.

The man approached the group as he told them to get back into the car, police said.

He then got into his car and drove around the block and headed west on Captain Cook Avenue, where he fired one round.

The bullet went through the back of the car and struck the girl in the right side. Her condition is not being disclosed by the hospital.

Fireworks likely cause of Makakilo brush fire

Fireworks may have started a Makakilo brush fire that scorched about 2,000 acres and took more than 50 hours to contain.

"We've heard reports that someone saw a kid playing with fireworks where the fire started," said Gordon Mahiko, a Honolulu Fire Department assistant chief. "It wasn't somebody 10 or 11 years old; more like 16 or 17.

The fire started about 4:30 p.m. Sunday on the lower mauka slopes of Makakilo, climbed the slopes to Palehua and spread to Kahe Point before being contained yesterday.

Two Hawaii Army National Guard helicopters with 2,000-gallon water buckets aided firefighters for 21/2 hours yesterday, dropping about 44,000 gallons of water on hot spots.

Man accused of threat with machete arrested

Police last night arrested a man for allegedly threatening to kill another man and his two young nieces with a machete.

The man and his nieces, 6 and 7, were walking on Nanaikeola Street about 9 p.m. when they were confronted by the suspect, who reportedly chased and yelled at them, police said.

The three ran away and called police.

The suspect was arrested; no weapon was recovered.

Police look into injury to 8-month-old boy

Police have opened an assault case after an 8-month-old boy was found to have suspicious injuries at Kapiolani Hospital.

He had been taken to the hospital last week for a scheduled examination by his parents, police said.

At the hospital, the parents checked the tot into the emergency room because of swelling to the left leg.

Doctors found the boy to have a broken leg.

In other news . . .

Bullet A North Carolina boy, 16, was arrested yesterday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe for allegedly fondling two girls. Police said the girls, 7 and 10, reported to a neighbor that the teen had touched and fondled them. He was booked for third-degree sexual assault. The military is investigating the case.

Bullet A boy, 17, told police he was kidnapped and stabbed in retaliation for a stabbing that occurred early Sunday morning at a fast-

food restaurant in Hawaii Kai. The youth, bleeding from the shoulder, escaped from his captors and called police at 4:58 p.m. yesterday from a residence on the 3600 block of Tantalus Drive, police said. He is in good condition at Queen's Hospital.


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