POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Commission rebukes state chief of elections

Hawaii's election chief was admonished by a state panel yesterday after four county clerks who help implement statewide balloting appeared before the panel to criticize him.

The Elections Commission held a closed-door meeting with Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin in which members' concerns were conveyed, said commission Chairman William Marston.

“;The upshot is that we have expressed these concerns to Kevin, and we'll be following up in writing to him with a letter itemizing the areas that we'd like to see improved or changed,”; Marston said in an interview after the session. The panel's action was unanimous, he added.

Cronin did not respond to a request for comment.

The admonishment came after weeks of complaints from legislators about Cronin's leadership and communication skills, and about the commission's oversight of the Elections Office, which conducts statewide elections.

The latest came yesterday when the clerks of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties testified during the commission's public hearing that Cronin has not adequately collaborated with them. They warned that could impede the September primary election and the general election two months later.



Washington woman ID'd as fire victim

A Maui County news release has identified the victim of a 1:13 a.m. fire Saturday in Ulupalakua as 49-year-old Cheryl Lynn Ledbetter of Olympia, Wash.

The Kini Drive home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. It was brought under control at 2:17 a.m.

It was during the cleanup and dousing of hot spots that firefighters discovered the charred remains of a woman's body, the county reported.

Three people were home at the time of the fire. One was uninjured.

The homeowner, a 61-year-old man, was injured while trying to save Ledbetter, police said. He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center for burns and was later transferred to Straub Hospital on Oahu, where he remains.

The fire's cause remains under investigation.