By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, July 24, 1998

Big Island to vote on
food irradiation plant

By Chris Loos, Special to the Star-Bulletin

Big Island voters will get a chance in November to vote on whether a commercial food irradiation plant should be built on the island.

Deputy County Clerk Alan Konishi yesterday presented Naomi Cohen, spokeswoman for Parents Against Irradiation, with a certificate of sufficiency stating that the group has submitted enough valid signatures to get the issue on the general election ballot.

Cohen, whose group opposes the plant, called it "a day of triumph for the people of Hawaii."

The Hawaii County Charter requires that, in order to qualify for a ballot initiative, a petition must contain signatures of 15 percent of the ballots cast for mayor in the previous election.

Using that formula, the irradiation initiative needed 7,346 valid signatures, Konishi said. Parents Against Irradiation turned in at least 7,852, and elections officials were still counting.

Hawaii County has an ordinance that bans most nuclear activity but allows exceptions, including medical uses and commercial irradiators. The ballot initiative seeks to remove the exception for irradiators.

Isomedix Inc., a New Jersey company, plans to build an irradiator that would sterilize fruit flies by treating fruit with radiation.

Mayor Stephen Yamashiro, a backer of the plan, believes treatment of island grown fruit would allow its shipment to the mainland, boosting the island's stagnant economy.

Yamashiro also believes an irradiation plant has other potential uses on the Big Island, such as treating meat as protection against salmonella.

Parents Against Irradiation is worried that the plant's use of radioactive materials would be dangerous on an island vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, lava flows and other disasters.

Cohen, wife of pediatrician Mark Cohen, has said she doesn't question the safety of irradiated food.

The American Medical Association says irradiation is safe when done correctly. But the association encourages the government to maintain its requirement for irradiation labels to alert the public when they are buying irradiated food.

The initiative goes to the Hawaii County Council on Aug. 5 for consideration. If the Council rejects it, voters will see it on the ballot on Nov. 3.


Friends delay session on
palace controversy

A scheduled Friends of Iolani Palace board meeting yesterday was postponed, disappointing some members who want to resolve the controversy surrounding the recent resignation of managing director Jim Bartels.

"I didn't hear a reason for it but there's certainly a lot of speculation why," board member Beatrice "Beadie" Dawson said.

"There are members on the board who are not happy it was postponed because they believe the situation demands attention and resolution.

Board vice president Elia Long said the meeting will be rescheduled for next week but an exact day has not been determined.

"We just felt it was too soon to have another meeting since we haven't had a chance to sit down and go over some things from our last meeting," Long said.

"The main item on our agenda is reorganization."

Funds slated for Kahuku land

The military in Hawaii could receive $248.7 million for projects agreed to by U.S. House and Senate conferees.

The money includes $23.5 million for the Army to acquire the 8,214-acre Kahuku Training Area on Oahu, according to U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's office.

The land is now owned by the Campbell Estate, which will dissolve in the year 2007.

"The Kahuku Training Area is one of the few parcels of land remaining which is adequate to hold military training exercises," said Inouye.

"Losing the Kahuku Training Area would have significantly impacted the training readiness of our troops and jeopardized their ability to remain in Hawaii."

The fiscal year 1999 military construction appropriations bill now faces House and Senate votes before it goes to the president for consideration.

No-contest plea in pot case

WAILUKU -- A Maui man who says he dispenses marijuana as a religious sacrament pleaded no contest today to first-degree drug charges in commercially growing the plant.

Raymond Christl, 45, pastor of the Religion of Jesus Church, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22.

Outside the courtroom, Christl said he pleaded no contest because he faced life plus 40 years in prison if convicted.

He said in the agreement, the prosecution has recommended he serve only a year with 10 years probation.

Christl admitted he grew more than 100 marijuana plants in his house in Paukukalo but said he felt he was innocent because he did it for religious and medical reasons to help patients of AIDS and other diseases.

"I'm guilty of breaking a state law, yet I feel the law is unconstitutional," he said.

Destroyer retired after 18 years

The USS Ingersoll, a Spruance-class destroyer, was to be decommissioned today after 18 years of service.

The Ingersoll, named for Adm. Royal Ingersoll, has been at Pearl Harbor since 1987.

The ship has completed eight deployments to the Western Pacific.

During its last deployment, which ended in May, the Ingersoll participated in maritime interdiction operations in the Persian Gulf against Iraq.

The Ingersoll will remain at Pearl Harbor at the inactive ship anchorage.

Public can go aboard cruiser this weekend

The USS Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser, will be berthed at the Aloha Tower this weekend to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its commissioning.

The cruiser will be open to the public.

The public is invited to visit the 567-foot ship from 1 to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.

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

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Pearl sailor wins release
from jail in abuse case
against daughter, 3

By Linda Hosek, Star-Bulletin

An enlisted Navy man charged with assault for his alleged role with his wife in injuring his 3-year-old daughter will live on base at Pearl Harbor.

Circuit Judge Elwin Ahu yesterday granted a defense motion for supervised release for Kinyatta Cooper, 24.

He had been in custody in lieu of $40,000 bail for second-degree and attempted second-degree assault charges stemming from a June 13 incident. He faces up to five years in prison for each charge.

Todd Eddins, deputy public defender, said Cooper has no criminal record and will continue to work at Pearl Harbor.

He also said the court ordered Cooper to take parenting and anger management classes, and allowed supervised visits with his child, Tajhai. She suffered a broken arm and remains in foster care.

Deputy Prosecutor Lynne Jenkins McGivern objected to Cooper's release, saying the military support on which Cooper hopes to rely already failed, based on the child's injuries.

But she also said the bail report recommended Cooper's release and that the state will assign a worker to supervise him.

The state charged Cooper's wife, Tammy, 21, with the more serious charge of first-degree assault and with recklessly endangering a minor for her alleged role. She remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 bail and faces up to 15 years for both charges.

"The significant injuries arose not from his conduct," Eddins said. "So far, the evidence points to the stepmother."

Cooper's injured child allegedly named her stepmother as the one who caused her bruises and cuts, according to a court document.

The document also alleged that Tammy Cooper knew that her husband hit the child with his hand, a belt, a shower brush handle and an extension cord.

Eddins said he would argue that his client's charges be dropped to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail.

He said Cooper used excessive discipline, but was extremely remorseful.

Cooper, who received custody of his 3-year-old daughter in November, took her to Tripler Hospital last month with a broken arm and other injuries.

Eddins said Cooper's mother had custody of his youngest child, which he had with Tammy.


Police seize 'ice' lab

Police seized a transportable crystal methamphetamine laboratory in a stolen car in Waianae last night.

The sedan was stopped for a traffic violation in Waianae Valley about 9 p.m., police said. The two men in the vehicle fled.

Police discovered what they call a "box lab" inside the car and eight ounces of "ice" with a street value of about $28,000.

A box lab can easily be transported to various locations, police said.

One visit too many?

A 28-year-old Waipahu man was arrested yesterday when he returned to the same dealership from which he is accused of stealing a motorcycle on Tuesday.

The suspect was looking at Cycle City on Nimitz Highway on Tuesday at 1 p.m. when he reportedly drove off with a 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle, police said.

Another man chased him on a motorcycle, but couldn't catch him.

Employees spotted the same man looking at motorcycles yesterday at 8:50 a.m., police said. An off-duty police officer who was in the parts department was notified and detained the suspect until more officers arrived.

Golf theft suspect arrested

Police yesterday arrested a 25-year-old man for allegedly stealing a set of golf clubs from the Hawaii Kai golf course last week.

The suspect, who has no address, walked into the golf shop on July 13 and inquired about green fees and tee times, police said. As he left the course, he reportedly grabbed a set of clubs of a Big Island man who was practicing putting.

About 30 minutes later, the clubs were sold to a Kapiolani Boulevard pawnshop, police said. The man was arrested as he was being held in an unrelated case.

Stab wounds killed woman

A 41-year-old Kalihi woman died of bleeding caused by abdominal stab wounds, according to the medical examiner's office.

The body of Marma Pasalo was found by her husband Wednesday in the bedroom of a two-story Kopke Street house.

Police arrested a 38-year-old man for questioning who rents a room in the same house where the Pasalos resided.

The man remains in custody but has not yet been charged.

Aviation fuel spilled in ocean

About 440 gallons of aviation fuel were discharged into the waters near Lanikai yesterday when a Marine Corps helicopter dropped a 700-gallon fuel tank.

The 11:45 a.m. accident occurred about two miles from Mokulua Island.

The spill of JP-5 aviation fuel didn't cause an environmental or health threat, according to Mark Brennan, head of Kaneohe Marine Corps Base environmental department.

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

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1998 Honolulu Star-Bulletin