POSTED: Saturday, March 21, 2009

No mechanical cause found in crash

HILO» A National Transportation Safety Board investigation has failed to find a mechanical cause for a fatal tour plane crash last year on the Big Island.

An NTSB factual report says “;no evidence of any mechanical discrepancies was found”; in the June 17 crash on Mauna Loa.

A final determination of probable cause is expected to be released in two to six weeks, said NTSB senior air safety investigator Jim Struhsaker.

The crash of the single-engine Cessna operated by Island Hoppers claimed the lives of pilot Katsuhiro Takahashi and a couple from Japan.

The aircraft crashed after taking off from Kona International Airport for a three-hour tour. It took searchers five days to locate the wreckage in a heavily forested area of Mauna Loa.

Box jellyfish close Hanauma Bay

Lifeguards will determine this morning whether to reopen Hanauma Bay after an influx of jellyfish yesterday morning led to the popular snorkeling spot's closure.

More than 40 box jellyfish washed ashore during a one-hour period, and more were spotted in the water, according to a news release.

Lifeguards and the city's Parks and Recreation Department decided to close the bay at 8 a.m.

For public information regarding ocean conditions, advisories and warnings, the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division provides a prerecorded report at 922-3888, ext. 51. Information also is available online at http://www.hawaiibeachsafety.org and http://www.808jellyfish.com.


Postal service spares district office

Postal service spokesman Duke Gonzales said the U.S. Postal Service's district office in Honolulu serving Hawaii as well as several western Pacific islands will remain open as the agency grapples with a financial crisis.

The postal service plans to offer early retirement to almost one in four workers, close administrative offices and eliminate more than 3,000 jobs.

Gonzales said six out of 80 district offices in the United States will be closed, mainly in the northeast and one each in Florida and Washington.

He said the district office in Hawaii and the Pacific employs about 2,800 workers, and letters are expected to be mailed to employees eligible for early retirement in the next couple of weeks.

“;The process is just beginning,”; he said.

In January the postal service said this year's deficit might dwarf its $2.8 billion loss last year, and it could reduce its current six-day-a-week delivery schedule by a day.


License of bail bondsman revoked

State Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt has revoked the license of a bail bondsman on the Big Island.

Monica Joyce Pacheco is accused of withholding premium payments and cash collateral deposits for her personal use.

Officials say Pacheco operated an unregistered and unlicensed bail agency called Big Island Bonding.

Schmidt says insurance is based on trust, and Pacheco allegedly violated that trust with her clients and their families.


Event discusses cancer research

Specialists at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii will discuss the latest research findings and treatments for various types of cancer at a free public conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Japanese Cultural Center.

The fourth annual Cancer Research Information Day will begin with registration at 8 a.m.

Developments will be presented on children's cancers and colorectal, ovarian, breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer.

Researchers will discuss cancer disparities in Pacific Islanders and high rates of cancer among native Hawaiians. A panel of doctors will describe progress in treatment of breast cancer. Exhibitors will include the American Cancer Society, Cancer Information Service, Pacific Region and LIVESTRONG Army Honolulu.

Free parking is available at the cultural center, 2454 S. Beretania St. People planning to attend are asked to call 275-3010 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).