By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, February 23, 1999

Senators weigh fee hike for A+, camping, more

Fees for the A+ after-school program, school bus transportation, fishing licenses and other services could increase under a bill before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

"We're just looking at options. No commitments, we're just looking at options," said Ways and Means Co-chairman Andy Levin (D, Kau).

Fees for camping at state parks, delinquent taxes, boat moorings, and adult and community education also could increase under the Senate plan.

The proposal was presented to the public for the first time yesterday during a joint hearing of the Ways and Means and Judiciary committees.

The measure is what is known at the Legislature as a "short-form" bill, which allows it to be introduced after the normal deadlines for new bills.

A public hearing is expected to be held sometime in the next two weeks.

BOE urges isle schools to fight discrimination

Citing recent "troubling events" in Hawaii's public schools, a Board of Education committee has approved a resolution it says reaffirms the board's stand against discrimination.

Jessica Preece, the board's student member and chairwoman of the Student Services Committee, said the resolution reinforces the board's anti-discrimination position, which is part of established policies and rules.

The resolution comes after the board has had to deal with reported instances of discrimination.

Those include a federal complaint filed by an eighth-grade African-American boy who was subjected to racial slurs and harassment at a Maui intermediate school.

The resolution says the board already has policies and rules which prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind.

It directs the superintendent "to take any and all measures necessary" to make sure students and department employees are safe and that all applicable anti-discrimination laws, rules and policies are followed.

"Nobody should be harassed, no matter what," board member Shannon Ajifu said.

Babbitt to visit Maui to study reef decline

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Commerce Undersecretary D. James Baker will be among the officials at a meeting on Maui next week of the president's Coral Reef Task Force.

President Clinton established the task force last year because of a worldwide decline of coral reefs.

Plans to address the crisis will be presented at the meeting, the second for the group, to be held March 5-6 at the Outrigger Wailea Beach Hotel.

A panel discussion on the human impact on coral reefs is scheduled for March 4.

Man admits role in plan to send drug to inmate

The last of seven people indicted in December 1995 for conspiring to distribute five pounds of crystal methamphetamine to a Waiawa prison inmate has pleaded guilty.

James Malta pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of using a telephone to communicate with other conspirators about the drug deal.

A plea agreement to drop the conspiracy charge was reached after prosecutors determined he played a minor role.

Malta, who entered his plea last week, is scheduled to be sentenced June 21 before U.S. District Judge Alan Kay, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni.

Based on the plea agreement, he faces a maximum of four years in prison.

Another defendant, Leslie Naki, earlier this month was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy.

Five other co-defendants have pleaded guilty.

Francis Kalani Lii, son of Josiah Lii -- the former head of the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific, who was slain in 1977 -- was sentenced last May to 20 years' imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

Catarino Candelaria of California received an eight-year prison term, and Kelly Garcia, also of California, was sentenced to eight years and a month in prison.

Ronald Malta, James Malta's brother, and his wife, Brenda, are still awaiting sentencing.

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Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


Police arrest man in woman's slaying

HILO -- Police said they have arrested a 22-year-old man of no permanent address in the slaying of Itsuko Ito, 72, found Feb. 16 at her home in Keaau.

The man is being held without charges at the Hilo police station pending further investigation.

An autopsy Friday confirmed that Ito died of multiple stab wounds to her chest and neck. Police said they also found Ito's car, which was missing from her home when her body was found. They gave its location only as a subdivision in the Puna District.

Man is suspect in girlfriend's assault

Police today arrested a 40-year-old Ewa Beach man for allegedly breaking into his former girlfriend's Moiliili residence and sexually assaulting her.

The suspect, found hiding by responding officers near the victim's home, was arrested at 2:10 a.m. on Kaialiu Street, about 30 minutes after the alleged attack occurred.

The man was booked for first-degree sex assault, first-degree burglary and kidnapping.

Husband charged in knife threat

Police yesterday charged a 39-year-old Kalihi man for threatening his wife with a knife.

Danilo Jumalon of 2136 Bannister Place, charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Jumalon allegedly pointed a kitchen knife at his wife and then stabbed a pillow next to the woman while verbally threatening her at about 8 a.m. yesterday, police said.

Passenger killed in crash identified

The medical examiner's office has identified a man killed in a one-car crash early Sunday morning in Waipahu as William Pohano, 23.

Pohano was a passenger in an eastbound car that veered off the H-1 Freeway near Managers Drive overpass, climbed an embankment and struck a traffic sign and utility pole.

Police said speed and alcohol are possible factors for the crash, and are investigating it as a negligent homicide.

The car was being driven by a 25-year-old man, who at last report was in guarded condition at Queen's Hospital.

Rescue crew recovers swimmer's body

Honolulu Fire Department rescue personnel yesterday recovered the body of an 18-year-old Hawaii Pacific University student from Taiwan about 25 yards offshore from Ala Moana Park.

The man was last seen swimming in the area Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. by a roommate, who later reported him missing.

The body was recovered at 2:10 p.m.



Hooker slapped with Waikiki ban

The first woman charged with violating a "hooker-free zone law" won't be serving jail time, at least for now.

District Judge Russell Blair yesterday sentenced Kristin Artusy, 20, to probation for one year, during which she is banned from entering or walking the streets of Waikiki from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. She was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.

If she violates those conditions, her probation will be revoked and she will be resentenced to 30 days in jail, said Deputy Prosecutor Sheila Nitta.

Artusy's attorney William Harrison withdrew his motion to declare the "geographic restrictions" law null and void but did not rule out raising it again with other clients.

The state went along with the agreement because it was in the best interest of the public to have her banned from Waikiki for a whole year rather than have her serve 30 days in jail only to be released without any restrictions, Nitta said.

As a condition of bail for a Dec. 23 prostitution-related arrest, Artusy was prohibited from entering Waikiki between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

She was rearrested Jan. 11 while walking along Kalakaua Avenue for violating the "geographic restrictions" law.

Artusy earlier this year pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in an unrelated Sept. 8 incident in which she bit a Japanese visitor who was attempting to take back his wallet from her.

She faces five years probation on that matter.

Boat owner tries to evade liability

The owner of the vessel Red October, which had five of its six occupants swept overboard Dec. 8, has filed a complaint seeking exoneration from or limitation of liability.

P&M Fishery Inc. responded to separate lawsuits filed Dec. 16 by two surviving fishermen -- Tan Ngoc Nguyen and Tuan Anh Tran, both 32 -- and one filed later by Loc Quoc Le, 27. The three were among the five men washed overboard by a huge wave about 750 miles northwest of Oahu. Four men were recovered from the 25-foot surf but one was never found.

Red October's owner yesterday said it "exercised due diligence to make the ... Red October at all times staunch, tight, strong, fully and properly manned, equipped and supplied, in all respects seaworthy and fit for the service in which she was engaged."

Any damages and losses were not caused by fault or negligence on the part of the vessel, those in charge or its owners, the exoneration complaint says.

P & M as owner of the Red October is requesting the court to rule that P & M is not liable to any extent for any losses or damages -- or if it is found liable in any way that its liability be limited to the $140,000 it has invested in the vessel.

Man gets 10 years in beating case

A man found guilty of beating a Navy lieutenant with a wooden pole on the H-1 freeway last June in a case of "road rage" has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Melvin Soong yesterday ordered Daniel Sisneros Jr., 48, to serve a mandatory minimum of three years and four months.

The victim suffered cuts to his face and a dislocated shoulder in the assault near Waikele Shopping Center.

Sisneros had tailed the Navy man and his wife for nearly six miles after the lieutenant passed him on Moanalua Freeway because he had been swerving into their lane. Sisneros' passenger "flipped off" the couple when they passed, causing the lieutenant to "flip" them back, prompting Sisneros to give chase.

Sisneros also was sentenced to five years imprisonment in an unrelated 1995 case in which he threatened to kill someone with a machete.

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