By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, September 18, 1999

Oct. 2 meeting focuses on transforming isle politics

Residents and organizations seeking changes in Hawaii's political system are invited to meet from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 2 at the Church of the Crossroads at 1212 University Ave.

Models and strategies will be discussed for "An Agenda for Real Change: Hawaii Conference on Campaign Reform."

Small group sessions on various related topics will be held with the following speakers:

Bullet Bob Watada, director, Hawaii State Campaign Spending Commission, "Where the Loopholes Live," regarding the campaign finance system.

Bullet Jeff Mikulina, Sierra Club Hawaii director, "They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot," or "How Money in Politics Threatens Hawaii's Environment."

Bullet Larry Meacham, Common Cause Hawaii director, "If the System's Broke, Let's Fix It," on the need for real reform.

Bullet Laure Dillon, Hawaii Clean Elections executive director, "We're Right and They're Wrong," regarding coalition building and grass-roots organizing.

Bullet Sen. Les Ihara, "Where the Heck Am I," on maneuvering through the legislative maze.

Bullet Brian Schatz, Hawaii Elections Project executive director, "You Can't Call That Reform!" about "Fake Reforms: How to Spot Them, and What to Do About Them."

Didi Letz will moderate a large group discussion after the small sessions.

For more information, call the Hawaii Elections Project, 222-7526, Dillon at 949-0551, or email:

Kauai to host seminar on disaster response

Disaster is the topic of a marathon Asia-Pacific conference next week at the Outrigger Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue, seven years after Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai.

Meetings begin tomorrow and run through Thursday. More than 200 "disaster responders and technology developers" are expected.

Advances in planning technology and responses will be covered in the Asia-Pacific Disaster Conference '99. Past successes and failures in disaster response will be weighed.

Participants from around the world will represent several United Nations agencies and private relief organizations.

Sponsors are the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, based at Tripler Hospital, and the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui.

Waipahu High teacher wins national award

Charles Ramos, a Waipahu High School teacher, is one of only 52 winners nationwide of the 1999 Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award, U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink announced.

Ramos teaches woodworking to grades 9-12. Instructional skills and interaction with students, parents and faculty are considered for the awards.

One outstanding first-year teacher is honored from each state, the District of Columbia and a nonstate jurisdiction.

Winners receive a cash award and travel to the nation's capital. They will meet with congressional representatives and take part in a U.S. Department of Education symposium.

Grant to help study how isle families cope

The federal government has granted $216,000 to a Hawaii research project aimed at discovering the key factors that enable low-income families to cope with difficult economic problems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money for the first of a three-year grant to the University of Hawaii Center on the Family.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who announced the award, said the research would be used as a guide by local, state and national decision-makers, as well as Hawaii's families.

Inouye said the bad economy here and changing national welfare policies place unprecedented pressures on many families in the state. Yet some are able to persevere.

"Hawaii's multicultural population and the center's competent researchers offer a powerful combination that can shed light on how low-income families with various backgrounds cope with financial adversity," Inouye said.

"The lessons learned from these successful families will help others meet the challenges of maintaining a strong family while facing difficult economic conditions."

The project is scheduled to begin Oct. 1 and conclude March 31, 2002.

Fong, McElrath lauded for notable service

The Organization of Chinese American Women presented distinguished-service awards to four Hawaii residents at its national conference in Honolulu this week.

Honored were former U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong, the first Asian American to hold that office, and his wife, Ellyn. They were cited for their efforts to bring equal treatment and opportunity to minorities in the United States.

Ah Quon McElrath of the ILWU was recognized as a pioneer advocate for social justice in the Hawaii labor movement. And attorney Sau Ung Loo Chan was honored for her work for a bill that allowed re-entry into the United States by immigrants who had returned to their homelands.



Bullet Noelani Kanoho Mahoe's name was misspelled in a review that ran in yesterday's Island Mele column.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

'Grandpa bandit' hits 5th bank in a year

The Kahala Mall branch of American Savings Bank was robbed yesterday of an undisclosed amount of cash by a man the FBI says is now responsible for five robberies in the past 13 months.

The suspect, nicknamed the "grandpa bandit" by the FBI because he is over 60 years old, had robbed four Oahu banks from August 1998 through this May. The last was the American Savings' Waipahu branch May 13.

In the robbery yesterday, the suspect entered the bank at 4211 Waialae Ave. at 11:20 a.m. and verbally demanded money from a teller.

Truck driver critical after Lanikai collision

A head-on collision in Lanikai last night critically injured a 40-year-old man, police said.

The crash occurred when a 1985 Chevy pickup truck crossed the center line while traveling south on Mokulua Drive at the curve on Alala Point. The truck slammed into a 1988 four-door Cadillac heading the opposite way, police traffic investigators said.

Alcohol seems to be a factor in the crash, according to police.

The truck's driver was taken to Queen's Hospital, where he is in critical condition. The Cadillac's driver and other occupants were not seriously injured.

The accident was the second head-on collision on the Windward side yesterday that resulted in serious injuries. Yesterday morning, a Honda Accord and a state transportation pickup truck collided in Punaluu.

The driver of the truck and all three occupants of the Honda were taken to Queen's Hospital in critical condition. They since have been upgraded to fair condition.

Police said that accident occurred when the Honda, heading Kahuku-bound on Kamehameha Highway, apparently swerved into the Kaneohe-bound lane when a car pulled out of a driveway.

Some Windward residents said the area needs more traffic enforcement, and complained about cars illegally passing and speeding along the two-lane highway.

Girl, 6, and woman, 39, allege sexual assault

Police are investigating two unrelated sexual assaults reported yesterday.

A 6-year-old girl yesterday reported that a man, 40, sexually assaulted her in Kaneohe, police said.

In the other case, a 39-year-old woman said she was "brainwashed and hypnotized" and brought to Hawaii against her will, where she was forced since July 7 to have a sexual relationship with a 54-year-old man.

Police said she left the man Sept. 9, consulted with sex abuse counselors and decided to initiate a police report.

Teen-age taxi-jacker released for time being

A 16-year-old boy who carjacked a cabbie in Waikiki yesterday was released pending further investigation.

Police said the boy pulled a handgun on the taxi driver, 46, which later was discovered to be a pellet gun.

Fire at west Maui condo causes $15,000 damage

WAILUKU -- Fire caused by a faulty fan motor caused $15,000 in damages to the contents and structure of a resort condominium unit at Honokowai East in west Maui, Assistant Fire Chief Richard Fernandez said.

Fernandez said no one was injured and that the fire was put out in less than 20 minutes after firefighters received the call at 11:18 a.m. yesterday.

Big Isle police hope to ID suicide found Thursday

KAILUA-KONA -- Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the body of a man who apparently committed suicide a quarter-mile from a Kona golf course.

A gun was found next to the body near the Keauhou Country Club golf course Thursday afternoon, police said.

The badly decomposed body was dressed in a T-shirt, shorts, one sock and slip-on footwear, police said.

An autopsy has been ordered. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 326-4230 or CrimeStoppers at 329-8181.

Marijuana eradicators find 'punji' sticks

HILO -- Police found waist-high, sharpened "punji" sticks, designed to injure officers rappelling out of helicopters, during a marijuana eradication operation in Hakalau north of Hilo this week, they said.

During the four-day operation in the Puna and North Hilo areas, they seized 14,225 marijuana plants, police said.

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