By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, October 21, 1999

Millennium Moments

Millennium special

Hawaii Theatre 'Pride of Pacific'

TUCKED in the corner of Bethel and Pauahi streets is a building once hailed as "The Pride of the Pacific" when it opened in 1922.

It's the neoclassical Hawaii Theatre, which today welcomes audiences to its restored glory. After being dark and in disrepair for years, the 1,400-seat center underwent a $28 million, sometimes-controversial renovation before being reopened in 1996.

The theater, designed by Walter Emory and Marshall Webb, was as opulent as any in San Francisco or London in its early heyday, according to "Architecture in Hawaii" by Rob Sandler, Julie Mehta and Frank S. Haines.

Its exterior Byzantine and Corinthian ornamentation and marbled entrance hint at its lavish Beaux-Arts interior, the authors note, which include a gilded mosaic dome, marble statues, Corinthian-style columns and oil mural above the stage's arch.


Traffic safety awards offered

The governor's Highway Safety Council is seeking nominations for the state's first traffic safety awards.

The Alaka'i Traffic Safety Awards will be given to three people who have made an outstanding contribution in highway safety education, engineering or enforcement.

Nominations should describe what the person has done to make Hawaii's highways safer and should not exceed two single-spaced typed pages.

Nominations can be sent to Alaka'i Traffic Safety Awards, Department of Transportation, 869 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, HI 96813, or faxed to (808) 587-2313. The deadline is Nov. 13.


Raw sewage spilled near Army reservation

More than 237,000 gallons of raw sewage was dumped into a ravine near the Helemano Military Reservation when a pump failed early Tuesday morning.

Capt. Rich Spiegel, Army spokesman, said an internal power failure did not trigger an alarm and the spill was not noticed until yesterday.

The pump was repaired yesterday morning and the ravine where the sewage was dumped was disinfected as a safety precaution. The Army said there was no health hazard.

The raw sewage was supposed to have been transported to the wastewater treatment plant at Wheeler Army Air Field.

Aala Park construction set to start in February

Aala Park improvements remain on schedule with new construction set to start in February.

With $900,000 in capital improvement project funds available for the park, a first phase calls for a softball field, grading and irrigation; new playground equipment, two basketball courts, parking lot; removal of earth mounds, irrigation and grassing; construction of a stage; walkways with lighting and additional Aala Park landscaping.

Thieves take checks from trash, cash them

HILO -- Police are warning the public about a scam in which thieves cash unused checks sent to people as part of a credit card offer.

In one case, a credit card holder was sent checks by MBNA America, which urged the holder to sign the checks for cash advances.

Instead, the holder and others receiving similar offers, threw the checks away.

Thieves fished the checks out of trash at the post office and cashed four of them for more than $3,000 each, police said.

People should tear or cut the checks before throwing them away to be sure they aren't misused, police said.

Suspended bus driver back on job

An employee suspended by TheBus for a driver slowdown in recent weeks has returned to work after 4-day suspension, according to Oahu Transit Services president James Cowen.

The man was cited for insubordination, not following the orders of a central dispatcher and for lying in the course of an investigation.

Charges against five other employees under investigation have not been sustained due to lack of sufficient cause, Cowen said.

Meanwhile, the company and officials with Hawaii Teamsters Local 996, which represents TheBus employees, have agreed to adjust problematic schedules that drivers have deemed too fast.

But Cowen said his company isn't doing anything different because schedules are adjusted constantly to reflect times.

Hundreds of passengers earlier this month complained that buses were arriving late. Management blamed a slowdown created by the union. The union said management had police cite drivers for traffic infractions.

Teacher faces molestation charges

HILO -- A Honokaa High School physical education teacher will be arraigned in Circuit Court Nov. 9 on three charges of allegedly molesting girls.

The teacher, George Christian Brandt, was placed on leave by school officials following his arrest on a bench warrant for the charges Oct. 11.

The arrest followed a grand jury indictment which charged him with third degree sexual assault for alleged sexual contact with two girls, one of them under the age of 14, between 1994 and the present. A third charge of attempted first degree sexual assault was filed in connection with a separate alleged assault of one victim.

The Department of Education said a decision on whether to place a teacher on leave varies from case to case, and depends on an assessment of the safety of students.



Bullet Eight people were arrested at the First Samoan Congregation Church in Kalihi earlier this month for participating in bingo games. The incorrect church was reported in an Oct. 8 story.

Bullet Caitlin Paris' name was misspelled in a caption yesterday that accompanied a photo showing her on a tire swing.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Cabbie, alleged robber hurt in crash

A taxicab robbery resulted in a crash last night near Kalihi, hospitalizing the cab driver and the alleged robber.

The taxi driver, 32, picked up a man near North School Street at about 7 p.m., police said.

The suspect immediately pulled out a knife and held it to the driver's throat, officers said.

The two struggled while the car was moving.

The taxi then slammed into a utility pole on North School Street near Waikahalulu Lane.

Officers responded and were informed what happened.

The 27-year-old suspect, from Waianae, was arrested for first-degree robbery.

He and the taxi driver were taken to Queen's Hospital in guarded condition.

Possible DUI causes serious injuries

Alcohol is believed to be involved in a four-car crash last night in Waianae that hospitalized five people.

A 68-year-old man in a pickup truck was headed mauka on Plantation Road near Waianae Valley Road at 8:50 p.m. when he crossed the center line and struck three makai-bound cars, police said.

The man was airlifted to Queen's Hospital in serious condition.

A 40-year-old woman, a passenger in the pickup truck, was critically injured.

Traffic investigators said three other people in the cars were also taken to Queen's Hospital but were in fair to good condition.

Fire destroys cafe on the Big Island

OCEAN VIEW, Hawaii -- Fire destroyed Cafe Ohia in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates south of Kona shortly after 11 p.m. yesterday, the Fire Department said. The cause of the $60,000 blaze in the building owned by Julie Ordiz was under investigation.

The vacant South Point Bar and Restaurant in Ocean View also burned down on Sept. 19.

The cause of that fire was not immediately determined.


Officers cleared

Two Honolulu police officers have been cleared in the death of a 28-year-old Kailua man, who suffocated while being restrained by the officers.

The city prosecutor's office said no action will be taken against the officers. It said the officers' submission techniques were justified as they attempted to arrest and control Eric Sumida.

"We concluded the use of force by the police officers was not deadly force," said Lawrence Grean, chief of the prosecutor's Screening and Intake Division. "The objective was to subdue and get him into control."

According to an autopsy, Sumida died from asphyxiation from a submission hold. The autopsy also said drugs were a factor in the death. Methamphetamines, amphetamines and marijuana were found in Sumida's blood and urine.

The autopsy said the officers applied a "trained submission hold" correctly without crushing Sumida's windpipe, Grean said.

"It's considered a relatively safe technique," he said.

Sumida resisted, fought and assaulted the officers. The officers reported that Sumida attempted to unsnap their handguns from their belts.

By Jaymes K. Song, Star-Bulletin

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin