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POSTED: Friday, June 19, 2009

3 more charged in fraud case

Federal prosecutors have charged three more defendants in the mortgage fraud case involving the mortgage brokerage company Accel Mortgage.

All three are cooperating with the government and have agreed to plead guilty.

Accel regional manager Carla Dutro and loan officer Maria “;Gerlie”; Guillermo are scheduled to plead guilty Tuesday. Tax preparer Alfred Ulat was scheduled to plead guilty this morning.

Two other former loan officers for Accel have already pleaded guilty.

Five other defendants, including Accel co-owner Welton Kalani, are awaiting trial. They face charges of conspiring to steal $1.9 million in real estate loans for a home in Aiea and another one in Mililani.

State fines 3 companies for air pollution violations

The state Health Department's Clean Air Branch has cited three companies for air pollution violations and imposed penalties.

The companies, which may request a hearing to contest the orders, include Castle & Cooke Resorts, Chevron Products Co. and Tesoro Hawaii Corp.

Castle & Cooke was fined $2,000 for late submittal of semi-annual monitoring reports for January to June 2008 for its stone process, asphalt and concrete batching plants on Lanai.

Chevron Products Co. was fined $8,000 for exceeding its rolling 12-month total annual benzene limit of one megagram per year from September to December last year at its oil refinery in Kapolei and failing to notify the state agency of the permit deviation within five working days.

Tesoro Hawaii Corp. was fined $3,000 for having excessive downtime on the hydrogen sulfide continuous-emission monitoring system at its oil refinery in Kapolei from July to December last year.

Freeway Service Patrol clears 50 traffic incidents

The Freeway Service Patrol responded to a total of 50 traffic incidents on its inaugural day, according to a spokesman from the Department of Transportation.

Of those 50 incidents on Wednesday, 13 disabled vehicles were towed off the freeway, 10 flat tires were changed, four overheated engines were refilled, two batteries were jump-started, two empty tanks received fuel and two accident scenes were reported.

There were also two occurrences of debris on the freeway and 15 miscellaneous traffic incidents.

The two-year pilot program aims to relieve traffic congestion on the freeway, which will result in saving fuel and reducing emissions.

Online degree now available at UH-Hilo

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is launching a new online graduate degree program this fall that can allow post-baccalaureate students to attend class online, while they work full- or part-time.

The new five-step program called DL-STEPS, Distance Learning-Secondary Teacher Education Program for Success, is aiming to certify teachers concentrating on secondary education and lead them to licensing in the state of Hawaii.

During this process, students will concentrate on five areas, including advertisement, pre-course work, application to the program, pedagogy courses and field work.

Additional information about the program can be found on the University of Hawaii at Hilo's Web site at www.uhh.hawaii.edu/academics/dl/EDsteps.php.

For more information, contact Education Department adviser Terry Reveira at (808) 974-7748 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).