By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, January 15, 1999

Isle-based ocean flights
aim to better air safety

A hurricane reconnaissance plane is expected to arrive here today for nine missions this year to observe atmospheric conditions over the Pacific Ocean.

The flights are part of a Winter Storm Reconnaissance Program to study weather systems likely to produce strong storms over the United States and create turbulence threatening aircraft safety.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is sending a Gulfstream IV (G-IV) plane to fly out of Honolulu. Also, the U.S. Air Force Reserve will fly 10 missions with C-130 planes out of Anchorage, Alaska.

Because air turbulence can cause an aircraft to lose gravity or be tossed upward with tremendous force, one experiment will attempt to take observations within turbulence at the altitudes of trans-Pacific commercial airline flights.

The project -- called SCATCAT, for Severe Clear Air Turbulence Collides with Air Traffic -- will be conducted by NOAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif.

Researchers will fly three SCATCAT missions out of Honolulu in the next month. Data collected from the reconnaissance flights will be used to supplement the project.

Scientists will drop instruments over the ocean that will collect temperature, wind, moisture and pressure data as they fall from a height of 30,000 to 45,000 feet.

The data, giving scientists a complete picture of the atmosphere at a certain time, will be relayed to the aircraft and to computer models making weather and climate forecasts.

The instruments also will be deployed in turbulent areas of the jet stream to look at the internal waves between 45,000 and 27,000 feet -- the flight altitude of major airlines.

The information will be used to learn how weather forecast models could be improved to give pilots more accurate turbulence warnings.

Mel Shapiro, NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory SCATCAT project director and chief scientist for the Honolulu flights, said this is the first time the structure of the atmosphere responsible for turbulence will be documented.

"We hope this experiment will increase our understanding of why some jet streams have severe turbulence and others don't," he said.

Louis Uccellini, Office of Meteorology director, said understanding atmospheric conditions in the Pacific is a challenge because of few traditional observing systems in the area.

He said the missions will help the weather service and researchers understand where more data is needed.

State will restore funding cut
from help for disabled children

By Helen Altonn, Star-Bulletin

Cuts in mental health services for disabled children resulted from miscommunication and will be restored, a state Health Department official has assured angry and distressed parents.

Christina Donkervoet, chief of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, in an interview yesterday, said there is no policy to change services without reconvening multidisciplinary teams that plan services for children.

She said a directive issued Dec. 4 regarding services under the Felix consent decree was not intended to cut off services without evaluating children to determine if changes are needed.

But Larry Geller, co-chairman of the West Honolulu Community Children's Council, said many families lost case managers, therapeutic aides and other services.

The Felix decree requires the state to develop a system of mental health and special education services for children by June 2000. The agreement stemmed from a lawsuit alleging the state was violeting federal laws mandating the services.

Parents and service providers packed the Aina Haina Library last night at an East Honolulu Community Children's Council meeting to air complaints about service cuts.

"It was an extremely heated meeting," Geller said.

Donkervoet told the crowd the problems resulted from a misunderstanding about the Dec. 4 directive and that services that were cut for eligible children have been restored.

She said in the interview that she believed fewer than 20 of the 8,200 children were affected.

UPW members angry after executive meeting

Several dozen members of the United Public Workers left a meeting of the union's executive board angry and disappointed last night after UPW officials again failed to answer questions about recent allegations against state Director Gary Rodrigues.

Executive Assistant Dayton Nakanelua told the group he could not discuss the reported settlement of a sexual harassment complaint against Rodrigues because no settlement has been finalized and the matter is "unresolved."

In response to a question about reports that union staff have flown to Oregon to do maintenance and construction work on a house owned by Rodrigues, members were told this was "personal and private business," according to one of those at the meeting.

Members were told that minutes of prior executive board meetings are considered confidential and are not available for inspection.

Those attending the meeting were asked to sign in and print their names before entering "because Gary (Rodrigues) wants to personally see everybody who attended," one member said later.



Bullet The $300 million that Hawaii consumers allegedly have overpaid for gasoline the past four years equates to $250 per resident. A story in yesterday's Star-Bulletin had an incorrect per-capita number.

Bullet An incorrect photo ran in yesterday's newsprint story about Sony Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Norio Ohga. The correct photo was published today. Ohga will conduct the Honolulu Symphony in performances Sunday and Monday night at Blaisdell Concert Hall. For information about the concert, call 538-8863.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.

Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


2 schools find bombs,
two boys are arrested

By Rod Ohira, Star-Bulletin

Shrapnel embedded in the ceiling of a Waianae High School restroom gave police Detective Robert Cravalho a hint as to how powerful the homemade bomb was.

Yesterday's 11:40 a.m. explosion, which caused about $400 damage to a second-floor boys' restroom in Building A, is the latest incident involving homemade bombs using firecracker parts.

Two urinals were damaged, Cravalho said. Except for one "ringing ears" complaint from a faculty member, there were no injuries, he added.

A campus security officer, meanwhile, prevented another homemade explosive device from being detonated yesterday near Mililani High School.

Police arrested two 16-year-old boys for yesterday's incidents, bringing to five the number of boys arrested this year for offenses related to prohibited explosives.

"The velocity was incredible," Cravalho said of the Waianae High bomb. "The ceiling is about 15 feet high, and it took a long time to dig out two pieces of shrapnel.

"If that was a human being, we're looking at serious bodily injury or even death."

Waianae school officials investigated the incident and identified a suspect, Cravalho said.

The boy admitted "he just wanted to make a loud bomb," Cravalho said.

Firecracker powder was used for the bomb, the detective added.

"These juveniles, and even adults, have to realize the potential danger of these homemade devices," Cravalho said.

At Mililani, a security officer allegedly saw a boy trying to light the explosive device at about 2 p.m. near the Mililani Waena Park tennis court.

A group of juveniles watching the boy fled, but the security officer was able to detain the suspect for police.

"It's obviously dangerous, not only to him but the others who were there," Detective Keith Marini said. "It seems like we're seeing this every week now.

"We've been lucky so far that no one has been seriously hurt, but it's only a matter of time."

Last week, three boys -- ages 15, 15 and 17 -- were arrested for detonating a "sparkler bomb" at Campbell High School. Thirteen students were affected by the blast, which occurred several hours after police recovered a similar device on campus.

3 more charged in robbery,
shooting at Wahiawa store

By Rod Ohira, Star-Bulletin

Three more men have been charged in connection with last Friday's botched armed robbery in which a Wahiawa grocer's wife was shot in the face.

Farrington Governor Santos, 25, of Kalihi; Damien Kaahu, 26, of Hauula; and Roland Ragasa, 32, of Pearl City, were charged yesterday with first-degree robbery.

In addition, Santos has been charged with two firearm offenses, including being a felon in possession. His bail totals $300,000.

Bail for Kaahu and Ragasa is $150,000 each.

Tomas Quirantes, 20, of Kahuku was charged earlier this week with one count of first-degree and two counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and firearm offenses.

Cambra said Quirantes is the suspect's official surname, according to the suspect's mother.

Police seek hit-and-run driver

Police are searching for the driver of a compact car that struck a woman crossing the street last night in Maili. She is in fair condition at Queen's Hospital with a broken leg, broken back and head trauma.

In other news...

Bullet Police yesterday arrested a 41-year-old man for allegedly stabbing and injuring his housemate outside their Factory Street home in Kalihi.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
See our [Search] [Info] section for subscription information.

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