By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, October 2, 1999

City slaps lawsuit against
state retirement agency

A lawsuit against the state Employees Retirement System claims that the agency is overcharging the city $12 million.

City attorneys, in a Circuit Court filing, said retirement system managers miscalculated the city's share of savings from the retirement fund for fiscal years 2000 and 2001 by $12 million.

The suit also charges that the state unfairly got the lion's share of the credit.

The system's purpose is to provide retirement, death and disability benefits for employees of the state and the four counties. The issue is critical for the city, which has been banking on the $12 million to help pay the city's $1 billion operating budget for this year.

The suit seeks a ruling that declares the city should receive more savings.

The governor's office, in response to the city administration's charges, said the figures are calculated by actuaries and cannot be manipulated.


10 choirs combine
for Hawaiian festival

A combined choir of 200 singers from 10 Oahu Catholic churches will present Hawaiian hymns at the annual song fest of the Hawaiian Arts & Liturgical Inculturation Awareness Committee.

Lokomaika'i 'Aha Himeni, which will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at Pearl Harbor Chapel, is free and open to the public. It is accessible from the Nimitz gate.

Each church choir will share Hawaiian or Hawaiian-English selections. Then they will form a massed choir to perform "In Christ There Is No East or West" to the tune of "He'eia," "God, Recall Your Tenderness" to "Ho'omana'o" and "May We All One Body Be" to the tune of "Nani Kauai."

The organization presents workshops to help and encourage churches to include Hawaiian culture and music in worship.


Services Sunday seek
end to anti-gay violence

Dignity Honolulu will join other chapters of the Dignity/USA organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics in observing Solidarity Sunday Oct. 10.

It is the fifth year of the faith-based Solidarity project, which calls for an end to discrimination and verbal and physical violence against people because of their sexual orientation, said local president Gene Corpuz.

Dignity Honolulu members and supporters will attend the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Corpuz said that in previous years the group has chosen to attend a service led by either Bishop Francis DiLorenzo or the Rev. Marc Alexander, who as former director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference lobbied against same-sex marriage.

The Catholic group regularly meets for a laity-led religious service at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Carolyn Golojuch, president of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will present the homily at the service at 7:30 p.m. on Solidarity Sunday.

Supporters wear a rainbow ribbon on that day to memorialize those who have been victimized because of their sexual orientation. Services this year will be dedicated to mainland murder victims Matthew Shephard, Billy Jack Gaither and Tracey Thompson, and gunshot victims Jacqueline Anderson and Barbara Gilpin.


Surfers have till Monday to clear Waikiki rack

Surfers who have been keeping their boards at the city's racks at Kuhio Beach have until Monday to clear them out.

Owners of the 600 boards had until yesterday to remove them, but the city decided to extend the deadline by two days, said city spokesman Gerry Silva.

The city is relocating the racks as part of its redevelopment plan for Kuhio Beach. Permanent racks are being built nearby but won't be ready until spring.

In the meantime, the city expects to have temporary racks for 400 boards installed by the end of the week about 100 yards Diamond Head of the existing racks.

Silva estimated about 75 percent of the boards have been removed. City officials have been trying to locate the owners of the remaining boards. Surfers pay $10 a month to rent a rack.

Some board owners are on the mainland, and the city has been asking that they get their friends to open combination locks on the racks, Silva said.

Any racks left with surfboards Monday morning will be forcibly opened, and the boards will be placed in storage until they can be retrieved, Silva said.

"If it means we have to cut a lock or two, we will," he said. "But we want to make sure the surfers are as satisfied as possible."

Mail inspection program awaits Congress's OK

State authorities would be allowed to inspect arriving U.S. mail to prevent introduction of harmful plants and insects under legislation approved by a congressional committee this week.

The one-year mail interdiction pilot program is in an amendment to an agricultural appropriations bill, and was authored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. The appropriations measure will go to the full Senate for approval next week.

Under the amendment, arriving first-class mail would be inspected if state officials reasonably believe packages contain invasive alien species prohibited by federal law, Akaka said.

Federal inspection of mainland-bound mail for pests is already in effect, so the proposal will extend the same protection to Hawaii, Akaka said.

A 1989 state study found that U.S. mail accounts for an estimated 23 percent of insects and illegal animals introduced in Hawaii.

Plywood factory funds gone by boards for now

HILO -- Financing for a Big Island plywood factory has fallen through, but new money for the project will be sought, officials of two Pacific Northwest companies announced.

Officials of the joint venture, called Tradewinds Forest Products, said the project was not consistent with the objectives of the financial backer.

County Councilman Dominic Yagong said he was told the Big Island is growing the wrong kind of eucalyptus for today's market.

"I don't see how that should have been a problem," Yagong said, since company officials have been studying the project for two to three years.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in June announced that Tradewinds had been selected to do sustained harvesting of non-native forests on 8,000 acres in the Waiakea Timber Management Area south of Hilo.

Tradewinds is a joint venture of the Timber Exchange of Portland, Ore., and Quality Veneer & Lumber, which operates mills in Oregon and Washington.

Maui Food Bank names new executive director

Maui Food Bank has named Debra Johnson as its new executive director.

Johnson most recently was executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui. She will oversee daily food bank operations, coordinate fund raising and community relations, and take part in strategic planning with the food bank's board.

The organization provides food to more than 140 agencies on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Kahaluu man, 34, dies as fire engulfs home

A 34-year-old man died last night in a fire in his Kahaluu residence.

The cause of the fire at 47-150 Wailehua Road is under investigation by police and fire officials. The victim's name has not been released.

The structure that burned was a garage behind the home of the victim's parents which had been converted into a two-bedroom cottage, according to officials.

Fire Capt. Richard Soo said the back bedroom was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived after responding to an 8:49 p.m. alarm.

Firefighters came upon the victim in the bedroom while fighting the blaze, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Soo said the fire appears to have originated in the bedroom.

The fire was under control at 9:02 p.m. and extinguished at 10:25 p.m.

An adult female with children reportedly also lived in the cottage.

They were not there at the time of the fire, Soo said.

Waipahu woman robbed at gunpoint in her home

Police are searching for a man who robbed a mother and daughter in their Waipahu home at gunpoint yesterday.

The man knocked on the door of the woman's Lelepua Street home at 11:10 a.m., police said.

He entered the home, bound the daughter and robbed the mother at gunpoint.

The suspect took money and jewelry and ran away. No serious injuries were reported.

He is described as a Caucasian male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, heavy, with blond hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a red shirt and brown pants.

Electrical fire ruins much of Hilo home

HILO -- Fire destroyed about half of a two-story home in the Kaumana area of Hilo shortly after noon yesterday, the Fire Department said.

The cause of the fire at the home of Virgilia Caoagdan was described as a faulty surge protector.

Only one family member was home when the fire started, and no one was injured, the department said.

Three-quarters of the downstairs was destroyed, and the upstairs suffered heavy smoke damage, it said.

Big Isle cops seek help in finding missing boy

HILO -- Police are asking for the public's help in locating Conrad Nishihara, a 17-year-old youth missing from the Hilo Interim Home since March 29.

Nishihara is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about him is asked to call police at 961-2276 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.

E-mail to City Desk

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