Newswatch


By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, July 11, 1998



Isle weather expected
to turn wet by winter

La Nina is coming to town, and the
long dry spell caused by El Nino
may come to an end

By Helen Altonn, Star-Bulletin

Hawaii can expect a rainy winter after the long dry spell blamed on the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The reason for the forecast: El Nino's opposite, La Nina.

Wetter than normal conditions are predicted in December, January and February, Jim Weyman, meteorologist in charge of the Honolulu Forecast Office and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said Saturday.

La Nina is expected to replace El Nino during the next six months and continue through the winter, the National Center for Environmental Prediction said yesterday.

An El Nino event, such as the one that brought drought to Hawaii and severe weather to wide sections of the nation, is characterized by unusually warm water in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Water in the same area becomes colder than normal in La Nina, and temperatures tend to be warmer than normal in the Southeastern states and cooler than normal in the Northwest.

"With El Nino you have a lack of tradewinds," said Honolulu forecaster Tim Craig. "They either vanish or become very weak, and day in and day out, we get most of our rainfall from tradewind showers. With La Nina, perhaps we will have stronger tradewinds and more tradewind showers."

Although forecasters can predict weather patterns with El Nino, Weyman said La Nina is more of a mystery because there are no direct weather correlations. "But there are tendencies," he said.

Statistics since 1950 show wetter than usual conditions in seven out of 11 winter seasons with La Ninas in Honolulu.

Weyman said he found no clear pattern for tropical storms while examining nine seasons. One season in the 1960s had no storm activity, while five tropical cyclones occurred during the last big La Nina in 1988-89, he said. They included two hurricanes, a tropical storm and two tropical depressions.

The National Center for Environmental Prediction said the changing conditions in the Pacific "indicate that a cold episode will likely develop during the next six months and continue through the northern 1998-99 winter."

El Nino, which has been blamed for the series of severe storms that battered California, as well as sundry other weather problems, has petered out in recent months. Because El Nino years tend to have fewer-than-normal hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, that raises concerns that more storms may occur this summer.

The warm waters of El Nino generate moist, rising air that can change the patterns of the jet stream, which steers weather.

In La Nina years, ocean temperatures are colder and the air overhead drier since there is less evaporation. This tends to result in weaker wintertime jet streams over the central and eastern Pacific and stronger monsoons over Australia, Southeast Asia, South and Central America and Africa.

La Ninas do not always follow El Nino episodes. More often, ocean conditions return to a relatively normal state, but scientists do not yet fully understand the reasons for the changes.

La Ninas have been recorded since the early 1900s but have received little attention because they don't have clear-cut ties to weather events, Weyman said.

Widespread publicity about El Nino in the past year has made La Nina more popular, as well as the ability to make better long-range forecasts about weather patterns, he said.

The name La Nina, Spanish for "little girl," was chosen by researchers to indicate the condition is the opposite of El Nino, which means "little boy."

That name had been picked by South American fishermen, who tended to notice the change in conditions around Christmastime, and named it after Baby Jesus.


Aizawa temping till job kicks in

Former schools Superintendent Herman Aizawa is filling a temporary specialist position at McKinley Community School for Adults for two months, earning a superintendent's salary until he steps in as principal of the school.

Controversy arose earlier after Aizawa was appointed principal by his former personnel director, Don Nugent, whom Aizawa had designated acting superintendent while he was out of town. Aizawa's last day was June 30.

Since July 1, Aizawa has been receiving on-the-job training at the McKinley adult school at his $90,041 annual superintendent's salary. He becomes principal Sept. 1, and will be paid the same amount until June 1999.

"It's a means of tiding him over to a paid position until his 10-month position (as principal) begins to pay him," said Albert Yoshii, acting personnel director for the Department of Education.

The department is obligated by regulations to place Aizawa into a job immediately after he resigned the superintendency, Yoshii said.

Board of Education Chairwoman Karen Knudsen called the arrangement "unacceptable."

Cayetano takes aim at corporate income tax

Now that isle residents will see a cut in their personal income taxes, Gov. Ben Cayetano wants a reduction in the corporate income tax and in the "pyramiding" of the state's general excise tax.

Those two changes will further help to improve the state's anemic economy, Cayetano said Friday.

And making those changes must be a priority for legislators next year, he added.

Cayetano's remarks came during a bill-signing ceremony for a measure that will slash $752 million in personal income taxes over the next four years.

Cutting the corporate income tax may not save businesses a substantial amount, but will definitely send a signal to executives that Hawaii is supportive of business, Cayetano said.

The state's corporate income tax has several brackets with a minimum rate of 2 percent and a maximum of 6.4 percent, said state Tax Director Ray Kamikawa. Corporate capital gains are taxed at a flat 4 percent.

Tax chief: June helps state top 1997

State tax revenues for the last fiscal year, ended June 30, were higher than the previous year's by 2.8 percent, or $77.2 million.

The gain came despite a drop of 2.2 percent, or $31.9 million, in the state's largest revenue source, general excise and use taxes, state Tax Director Ray Kamikawa said yesterday. Those revenues comprise half of all generated for the state.

Corporate income tax payments plunged 20.1 percent, or $11.6 million.

But individual income tax collections were up 11 percent, or $107.4 million, Kamikawa reported.

Hotel room tax revenue was also slightly higher -- just $68,000, or 1.3 percent, over last year.

The year-end totals were boosted by a productive June. The state collected $274.7 million last month. That's 6.5 percent, or $16.8 million, more than what came in June 1997.

The increase last month came despite a drop of 1.9 percent, or $2.4 million, in general excise and use taxes, Kamikawa said. But corporate income taxes were up 34.6 percent, or $3.5 million, as were personal income taxes, which climbed 10.9 percent, or $10.9 million.

Woman convicted in isle slavery held in N.Y. missing-person case

A former Hawaii Kai resident who once was convicted of slavery is being held by police for questioning in connection with the disappearance of a wealthy New York widow.

Sante Kimes, 63, and her son Kenneth Kimes Jr., 23, are being held in the disappearance of 82-year-old Irene Silverman, Detective Joseph Pentangello of the New York Police Department said Friday. They are not being called suspects at this time, he said.

Both were arrested Sunday on an outstanding arrest warrant from Utah, not in connection with the woman's disappearance. Pentangello said they will be extradited to Utah.

Silverman rented a room of her upscale home in Manhattan to Kenneth Kimes Jr. She was last seen 11:30 a.m. July 5.

Sante Kimes was sentenced to five years in prison in 1986 after being convicted in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas of violating anti-slavery laws.

She was accused of keeping her domestic workers -- young women from Central and South America -- in involuntary servitude at residences in the Portlock area of Oahu and in Las Vegas.

Her husband, Kenneth Kimes Sr., 67 at the time, faced the same charges. He entered into a plea agreement and was placed on probation and ordered to enter an alcohol rehabilitation program.

The couple also was fined $70,000.

Tapa

POLICE/FIRE

Police arrest shooting suspect

Police yesterday arrested a 21-year-old man accused of shooting a 16-year-old girl in the Punchbowl area Tuesday night.

The man was arrested at 5 p.m. at his workplace in Waikiki, police said. He was booked for second-degree attempted murder and is expected to be charged today.

Luann Liftee, of Maunawili, and her friends were outside an apartment building at 1420 Alapai St. when they saw a man on a third-floor walkway with a gun tucked into his waist, police said. He apparently lives in the building with some relatives, they said.

The man approached the group and told them to get back into their vehicle, police said. As the teens got into their van and drove west on Captain Cook Avenue, the man allegedly fired one round at them.

The bullet went through the back of the van and struck Liftee. Her friends took her to Queen's Hospital, where she remains this morning. Her condition is not being released.

Charges filed in pickup chase

Police yesterday charged a 36-year-old man who allegedly tried to run over an officer with a pickup truck during a chase in the Wahiawa area Thursday.

Rockwell Yadao was charged with first-degree attempted assault, a firearms violation, third-degree promotion of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

Yadao allegedly took off in his truck after police spotted him in the Wahiawa area Thursday morning.

When cornered by three officers at Wilikina Drive and Kamehameha Highway, Yadao reportedly turned the vehicle toward one officer and accelerated.

The officer fired one round, missing him. Yadao fled and was apprehended at Poamoho Village.

Woman accused of aiming rifle

A 45-year-old woman was arrested Thursday for allegedly threatening a man with an assault rifle.

The woman and man, 36, were in an argument at a Kaneohe house when she got an AK-47 rifle and reportedly pointed it at the man, police said.

She was arrested for first-degree terroristic threatening.

Kalihi man arrested in rape

Police Friday arrested a 24-year-old Kalihi man for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl.

The girl reported being picked up by the man on July 2 and driven to a parking lot where the alleged rape took place, police said.



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