By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, February 26, 1999

Controversial luxury
homes get Kauai’s OK

By Anthony Sommer


LIHUE - An upscale subdivision strongly supported by Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and vehemently opposed by environmentalists has won a green light from the Kauai County Planning Commission.

At the end of the second of two contentious hearings, the Planning Commission granted a special management area permit to Kealia Plantation Co.

The plan is to build luxury homes atop a bluff overlooking the beach and the ocean.

To woo the county, Kealia Plantation is donating the land between the foot of the bluff and the shoreline for use as a public park. The park would include a wide strip of beachfront between two popular beaches - Kealia Beach and Donkey Beach - and a former cane haul road turned hiking trail that links the two.

Both company and county officials claim the 53-acre land donation is the largest of its kind in state history.

Environmental groups including the Sierra Club and newly formed Friends of Donkey Beach praised the donation.

Then they demanded that the Planning Commission require setbacks that would make it impossible for anyone in the newly acquired park to see the houses on the bluff above it.

Following a public hearing dominated by opponents of the project in December, Kusaka backed the developers, Justin and Michele Hughes of Tiburon, Calif.

The mayor and the island’s more strident environmentalists parted company during the Hanalei boating dispute.

In January, the mayor and Michele Hughes held a joint press briefing in the mayor’s office to praise Kealia Makai.

Asked about using county facilities to back one side in a dispute not yet voted on by the Planning Commission, Kusaka said she was demonstrating that she is a "pro-business mayor willing to back companies that want to invest in Kauai and create jobs.’ "

The two then videotaped a similar joint performance - this time without reporters asking questions - that was shown repeatedly on Kauai’s public access channel. The county taxpayers picked up the tab for the station airing the program.

Local Rotary club planning
whale-watching cruise
for the blind

The blind will be able to "see" Hawaii's majestic humpback whales with live descriptions by visual interpreters tomorrow.

Members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise will create word pictures of the whales they see for 10 sight-impaired people on their first whale-watching excursion.

The Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise is sponsoring the whale-watching trip. The group has sponsored monthly outrigger canoe outings for members of the Ho'opono Center for the Blind, a vocational rehabilitation group, for the past two years.

"Blind people don't give up their ability to appreciate the environment when they lose their sight," said Rob Hail, who organizes the Rotary Club's activities with Ho'opono. "Our outrigger canoeing program is a highlight of the month for both the sight-impaired and the Rotarians who assist them. We'll all get the same charge out of a whale-watching cruise."

Coast Guard searches for Waianae man, 55

Coast Guard rescue crews were searching for a 55-year-old Waianae man whose fishing boat was found overturned at Kaena Point this morning.

The family of Stan Napierala reported that he left Waianae Boat Harbor Wednesday, but never returned. The Coast Guard sent out an airplane, a helicopter and two boats to search for him.

Napierala was last reported wearing green fishing gear, a black hat, blue shirt and jeans. He is a skilled fisherman and boater.

If anyone has any information about his whereabouts, please call 1-800-552-6458 or *USCG on a cellular phone.

Tipper Gore in Hawaii to mix with military

Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, arrived in Honolulu last night for a weekend of military engagements.

Today she is scheduled to tour the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville at Pearl Harbor.

Gore, whose husband was formerly a senator from Tennessee, was the sponsor at the February 1996 commissioning of the Los Angeles-class submarine. The submarine is named after a Tennessee county where components of the ship were manufactured.

She will be the guest of honor tonight at a reception and dinner hosted by Adm. Archie Clemins, Pacific Fleet commander.

Tomorrow Gore will tour Tripler Army Medical Center's Fisher House. She will be the guest of Maj. Gen. Nancy R. Adams, commander of the Pacific Regional Medical Command, at a reception.

Clinton budget calls for hiring more teachers

Hawaii would receive $6.5 million as part of a federal initiative to reduce class size, the U.S. Department of Education has announced.

This money would support the hiring of 178 teachers in grades 1 to 3 for the school year 2000-2001, the department said.

It's part of President Clinton's $1.4 billion budget request to pay for 38,000 teachers nationwide in fiscal year 2000 to help reduce class size in the early grades to 18 students per teacher over seven years, it said.

Students gather at EWC for regional science fair

More than 65 high school science students from Hawaii, American Samoa and Micronesia will gather beginning today for the three-day 2nd Annual Pacific High School Science Symposium.

The students will present the results of their research projects to an audience of their peers, teachers and scientists at the East-West Center's Imin Conference Hall at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

The student with the top project will receive a $4,000 scholarship and a trip to present the winning research at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in San Diego in May.



Poll graphics yesterday on mass transit and the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium included an incorrect sampling size and margin of error. There were 304 registered Oahu voters in the survey, and the margin of error was plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


Police arrest boy in Kahala burglary case

A 14-year-old boy was arrested yesterday in connection with a burglary of a Kahala home after he was identified by fingerprints, police said.

The Waiiki Street home was broken into on Jan. 20, police said. Latent fingerprints were taken and processed through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

The boy was identified and was located yesterday. He also admitted breaking into the home, police said.

Man threatened city employee, police say

Police yesterday arrested a Pacific Heights man after he allegedly threatened a city worker with a chain.

A water supply employee went to the Booth Road home to turn off the water because of a delinquent account at about 7:35 a.m., police said.

The resident then allegedly chased the worker into his car, while swinging a chain.

The city employee was able to subdue the man until police arrived.

Neighbor fails to douse fire with a garden hose

WAINIHA, Kauai -- The tenant of a one-story home on Kuhio Highway returned home late yesterday afternoon to find his house in flames and a neighbor trying in vain to put it out with a garden hose.

Firefighters from Hanalei had blaze under control within 20 minutes after they arrived, but by then the structure had burned to the ground.

There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Heavily tattooed man sought in fraud scheme

Federal and local law officers are looking for John Romig, a 38-year-old heavily tattooed man with long brown hair who is wanted on a no-bail warrant for a fraudulent bank scheme.

Posing as the president of a local business, Romig allegedly cashed checks totaling $12,000 at an Oahu bank.

The checks were found to be stolen from a post office box and forged.

Romig, who is 5 feet 11 and 160 pounds, may be attempting to flee the state.

He has numerous tattoos, including a spider web covering most of his right arm, a marijuana plant on his right upper back, and a "Gates to Hell" and skull on his left shoulder.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

Police want public's help in burglary case

KAILUA-KONA -- Police are asking anyone with knowledge of a burglary in which $130,000 of jewelry was stolen from a home on Kuakini Highway in Kona Saturday to call 326-4203.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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