By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Extremely dry conditions
prompt closure of some
areas of Kokee forest

Some forest lands at Kokee in western Kauai are closed because of a fire hazard from extremely dry conditions.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is barring public access until enough rainfall has reduced the hazard and vegetation has recovered.

Lands closed off are west of Highway 550, known as Kokee Road. Activities affected are mainly pig and game-bird hunting. Some backcountry mountain biking or camping also will be affected.

"There have been several fire starts in the area, coupled with record-setting dry conditions," said department Director Tim Johns, adding that the closure area is being kept to a minimum.

Kokee State Park will remain open and is not affected by the closing.

GTE readies network for millennium

GTE Hawaiian Tel has upgraded the "heart of its telecommunications network" and is confident the Y2K bug will not disrupt telephone service to its customers.

The company recently finished upgrading its digital network switches, which among other things provide call routing and connection to the Internet and other local and long distance providers, said Susan Eichor, general manager of infrastructure provisioning.

It has been testing the upgrades since the end of March.

"Our digital switches are the heart of the telecommunications network," Eichor said in a news release. "While there are no absolute guarantees, we can vouch for GTE's network compliance with a very high degree of confidence."

Year 2000 upgrades continue elsewhere in the company, such as in billing and payroll, which should be complete by September 1999, the release said.

The root of the so-called "Y2K bug" is that some computer hardware, software and microchips are unable to decipher four digits in a year. If not fixed in time, they could malfunction when faced with data dated 2000.

Halawa inmate's death being investigated

The Department of Public Safety is conducting an internal investigation into last December's death of Halawa prison inmate Keane Toguchi.

The investigation is based on a medical examiner's ruling that Toguchi died from an overdose of the prescription drug Zoloft and Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, said acting Public Safety Director Ted Sakai.

"Our original investigation (into physical abuse) found no wrongdoing," Sakai said.

"Based on the medical examiner's determination of the cause of death, we're investigating what the prescription was for, when he got it and how much he was using."

Both drugs can be dispensed at the prison, Sakai said.

Sport fishing programs getting less in fiscal '99

About $31.7 million in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds will go in fiscal 1999 to sport fishing programs in the six-state Pacific region, a 22 percent drop from the year before.

The same percentage drop is reflected nationwide and is attributed to an accounting change called for by a 1998 congressional mandate.

The money comes from hunters, anglers and boaters who pay special excise taxes on equipment and boating fuels. Funds are being stretched to cover boating safety programs for both 1998 and 1999.



Bullet Kyo-Ya Teahouse was founded by Ernest Y. Yamane, Dr. Toru Nishigaya and Clara and Harry Funaki. A clarification last Thursday incorrectly stated that the former Mrs. Funaki opened the teahouse in 1958.

Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff

Fugitive, robbery suspect nabbed in Waikiki chase

Police today arrested a 33-year-old man wanted for questioning about several Leeward coast robberies.

Craig Alan Domingo was arrested at 2:30 a.m. at the Outrigger Surf Hotel after a foot chase with several police officers.

Domingo, who was wanted on a $50,000 warrant, was reported to be armed, dangerous and unpredictable. He was featured in CrimeStoppers news release two days ago.

His firearm, recovered last week, was loaded with armor-piercing bullets.

Acting on a tip, police were sent to the hotel on Royal Hawaiian Avenue.

When Domingo saw the officers, he jumped from a 12th-floor lanai to the 11th floor, police said. He ran to the ground floor where he was apprehended.

He was being guarded by police at Queen's Hospital this morning.

Domingo was arrested for being a fugitive, hindering prosecution and auto theft. His wife, 34, was arrested for auto theft and hindering prosecution, police said.

Two men may have seen sex assault at UH dorm

Police are trying to locate two men who may have witnessed a Jan. 29 sex assault in a University of Hawaii-Manoa campus dorm room.

Dustin J. Lopez, 18, was charged yesterday with three counts of first-degree sex assault, two counts of third-degree sex assault and harassment by stalking. He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

The victim told police that during the alleged sex assault at Johnson Hall B, two men briefly entered the room and left. The two are being asked to call Detective Earl Takahashi at 529-3819.

The woman, 18, who lives off campus, was allegedly attacked at about 12:30 p.m.

Bank robbery suspect may have struck again

Police are seeking a man who robbed the Ala Moana branch of Territorial Savings & Loan yesterday.

He verbally demanded money from a teller in the 9:30 a.m. robbery at 1450 Ala Moana. He indicated he had a weapon but none was seen, and he received an undisclosed sum of money.

The man is believed in his 50s with gray hair, about 5 feet 10 and 170 pounds.

He was wearing glasses and a blue or black baseball cap, a blue jacket, blue/white T-shirt and dark shorts.

He might be driving a white Ford Escort, which was seen leaving mauka on Keeaumoku Street.

The suspect is believed to be the same person who robbed the Bank of Honolulu, Pearlridge branch, in January.

He also is believed to have robbed American Savings Bank's Pearl City branch last August.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 521-1411 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300. Yesterday's robbery was Hawaii's 10th of the year.

King's Landing resident drowns while diving

HILO -- A Big Island man died while diving in waters off King's Landing near Hilo, police said.

He was identified as Albert L. Kahuena, 51, of King's Landing.

Kahuena had been diving with a friend, who was on-shore when he saw Kahuena floating motionless in the water shortly before 2 p.m.

The friend pulled Kahuena to shore, then hiked 35 to 40 minutes to his car and called in a report at 2:29 p.m.

A Fire Department helicopter retrieved the body and carried it to an ambulance, which then took it to Hilo Hospital where death was pronounced at 4 p.m.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

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