By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, January 8, 1999

Big Island zoning law
stands through Sept. 1

HILO -- Hawaii County's controversial zoning code has the force of law until Sept. 1 even though it was improperly enacted, Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra has ruled.

"There has been no change in the law," county attorney Richard Wurdeman said following the judge's clarification this week of an earlier ruling.

The county Planning Department has resumed processing applications under the law -- controversial because it made major changes and because the public got little notice of them.

Ibarra previously said the zoning code was "voidable" because of violations of the state Sunshine Law when the County Council passed it in 1996. After Sept. 1, the code will be void, Ibarra said.

The word "voidable" had left authorities in doubt about how to apply the law until Sept. 1.

West Hawaii residents Jerry Rothstein and Judie Graham had filed suit saying the 1996 law should be killed because the Council went through eight versions without giving the public details of the proposals.

Despite a request by Wurdeman, Ibarra declined to clarify a number of scenarios that could take place between now and Sept. 1.

In the absence of clarification, Wurdeman said he believes the Council must either re-enact the 1996 law or start from scratch.

If the process isn't complete by Sept. 1, the old law goes back into effect.


Euthanasia topic of annual Red Mass

The issue of euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide, will be the topic of this year's traditional Red Mass, held to mark the start of the 1999 Legislature.

The Mass will be at 9 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Dr. S.Y. Tan, director of medical and medico-legal education at St. Francis Medical Center and the St. Francis International Center of Healthcare Ethics, will speak on the issue.

During this session, lawmakers will consider legislation that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, a recommendation from the governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Living and Dying with Dignity.

The Red Mass has been a tradition in Hawaii since 1955.

Help asked in locating burglary suspect, 25

CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department are asking the public's help in locating Chad Wilderman, who may have been involved in more than two dozen burglaries.

On Christmas Day, police say, Wilderman, 25, reportedly burglarized the Homespun Harbor Country Store in Aiea about 3 p.m.

Wilderman also is wanted for questioning in several burglaries in which stolen cars were used to drive through glass windows and doors to get into closed businesses.

Detectives said there were at least 25 similar burglaries in Pearl City, Kalihi and downtown since October, causing more than $50,000 in losses and damages.

Wilderman is 6 feet 1 inch tall, 170 pounds, tan, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

Mayor Harris makes changes in Cabinet

Mayor Jeremy Harris has announced several changes in his Cabinet and other key positions:

Bullet Customer Services: Carol Costa, director; Georgina Yuen, deputy director.

Bullet Information Technology: Courtney Harrington, deputy director.

Bullet Budget and Fiscal Services: Chris Diebling, interim deputy director until June 30; Caroll Takahashi, deputy director as of July 1.

Bullet Corporation Counsel: Cheryl Okuma-Sepe, first deputy as of Feb. 1.

Chris Parsons will leave city employment for the Big Island, where Parsons plans to enter private legal practice and do communications consulting.

Stretch of Moanalua will close for roadwork

Moanalua Freeway from Puuloa Road to the Halawa Interchange will be closed for roadwork between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

State transportation officials say the nightly lane closures on the left Honolulu-bound and the left Ewa-bound lanes of the freeway will allow work crews to move portable concrete barriers.

Transportation officials are advising motorists to use caution while driving in the area and to allow for extra travel time.

Guided-missile frigate to be open to public

The USS Reuben James, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, will be open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow at Pearl Harbor.

Visitors may enter through the Nimitz gate and proceed to Bravo Pier 26.

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Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


Man, 26, arrested in $45,950 forgery

A 26-year-old man was arrested yesterday for allegedly trying to deposit a forged check for $45,950.

The suspect reportedly attempted to deposit the check at the First Hawaiian Bank on Beretania Street at about 2:32 p.m., police said.

He was booked for second-degree forgery.

Electrical burns land worker in hospital

A Hawaiian Electric Co. employee received electrical burns at about 2:30 p.m. yesterday while in a crew working on an underground line at Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai.

He went by ambulance to Straub Hospital in stable condition with possible facial burns. Straub spokeswoman Michelle Shirai said the 52-year-old man continued to be listed as stable.

"We were doing electrical work at Koko Marina, and one of our crew had electrical contact and has been hospitalized and went into the hospital, and they're taking care of him," said HECO spokesman Chuck Freedman. The victim's name was not released.

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