POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2009

Child-abuse suspect is charged

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday, charging a 28-year-old woman with assault for burning her two young children with an iron.

  ;  Ionerina Baelo is charged with two counts of first-degree assault. She remains in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post $25,000 bail.

Baelo used a hot iron to burn her 4-year-old son on the back and arms and her 6-year-old daughter on the left hand, left leg and fingers, said Vickie Kapp, deputy prosecutor.

Kapp said an emergency room doctor indicated the burns will most likely cause permanent disfigurement.

Police said a day care counselor at Kuhio Park Terrace noticed burn marks on the children last Thursday. When questioned, the children said their mother burned them as punishment for not going to sleep. Police arrested Baelo when she arrived to pick up the children.


Lingle releases funds for cemetery

More than 2,000 new columbarium niches will be built at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe as part of the state's $1.87 billion economic stimulus public infrastructure construction plan.

Yesterday, Gov. Linda Lingle released nearly $1.1 million for improvements to the Kaneohe cemetery that also will be used to build a soil storage facility to shelter backfill material used for graves. The backfill stockpiles are now stored in the open and exposed to rain. Construction on the columbarium niches is expected to begin in April and be completed in October. Construction on the soil storage facility is expected to begin in August and be completed in July 2010.

Cemetery officials estimate that available columbarium niches to hold urns could be depleted before this summer.


Data touts high school grad rate

Hawaii has one of the nation's highest rates of residents 25 years and older who hold a high school degree, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released yesterday.

It found 89.4 percent of Hawaii residents in that age group had at least completed high school, the 10th-best rate among the states. The national high school graduation rate stood at 84.5 percent for that category. Meanwhile, 29.2 percent of isle residents 25 years and older had a bachelor's degree or more, ranking Hawaii 16th among states and above the national rate of 27.5 percent.

Native-born Hawaii residents had higher rates of high school and college completion than foreign-born isle residents.


Free seminar to discuss blindness

Dr. Hugo Higa of Aesthetic Vision Center will discuss the three major causes of blindness in seniors - macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma - in a free seminar from 9 to 11 a.m. today at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Call (877) 437-4442 for more information or to make a reservation. Seating is limited.