POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Flood watch extended as post office to reopen

The Kaneohe Post Office will be open today after being closed yesterday when heavy rain overnight apparently caused portions of the roof to collapse.

Parts of Kaneohe received 3 to 4 inches of rain in the 24-hour period that ended at 11 a.m. yesterday, according to the National Weather Service Web site.

The weather service has extended a flash flood watch for the entire state through this afternoon.

The bulletin means that there is a potential for flash flooding because of heavy showers and thunderstorms. Earlier bulletins said there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

The collapse, over a storage area in the one-story structure at 46-036 Kamehameha Highway, happened at 2:30 a.m., said Duke Gonzales, post office spokesman.

Gonzales said neither of the two employees in the building when the roof collapsed was injured.

83 from Red Cross now in American Samoa

Twelve additional Red Cross volunteer nurses and mental health workers left from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point yesterday for American Samoa.

There are now 83 Red Cross volunteers, 17 from Hawaii, assisting with tsunami relief in American Samoa, the agency said in a news release.

Red Cross volunteers are conducting damage assessment, assisting the American Samoa Department of Education with sheltering, feeding and assessing shelter client needs, and helping with the distribution of disaster relief items.

The volunteers are also working with church groups to get survivors registered on the “;Safe and Well”; Web site so family and friends can check on their status and location.

Citing assault, inmate sues state, jail operator

A female inmate from Hawaii who says she was sexually assaulted by a male guard while incarcerated in a privately run prison in Kentucky is suing the state and the prison operator, Corrections Corp. of America.

Totie Tauala, 35, who is serving a 20-year state prison sentence for manslaughter, filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court yesterday.

The lawsuit identifies the prison guard but does not name him as a defendant. Tauala claims the guard sexually assaulted her on Oct. 17, 2007, while she was incarcerated at Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

The state returned all 128 female inmates it housed at Otter Creek last month following the indictments of six prison employees for first-degree rape.

The state moved its female inmates to Kentucky in 2005 after a similar scandal at a privately run prison in Colorado.


Fire engulfs home in Kihei

KIHEI, Maui » A weekend fire destroyed a home under construction on South Kihei Road, the Maui News reported.

Seven fire companies responded Saturday night and worked through the pre-dawn hours on Sunday to put out the blaze that engulfed an unoccupied two-story, single-family dwelling at 3060 South Kihei Road at Keawakapu.

Businessman Joseph Sugarman, a neighbor, told the newspaper he had just returned from the Maui County Fair when he heard an explosion outside his home. Soon after, he saw the fire and called 911.

Authorities said they got the alarm at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. By the time they arrived, the house was fully engulfed.

Smoke was still billowing from the area late Sunday morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage had not yet been assessed Sunday afternoon.