By Star-Bulletin Staff

Monday, December 20, 1999

Millennium Moments

Millennium special

Green turtles making rally

Since gaining protection in 1978 under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the green turtle -- "honu" in Hawaiian -- has made a gradual population comeback.

Vegetarians, the critters can be seen feeding on plants in shallow coastal waters throughout the islands, writes George H. Balazs in "Atlas of Hawaii," edited by Sonia P. and James O. Juvik.

Though protected here, green turtles face extinction in other parts of the Pacific and the world due to excessive hunting, Balazs says.

Sea turtles have played a traditional and legendary part in Pacific cultures for ages, he notes.

Other turtles in our waters include:

Bullet The native hawksbill turtle, or honu'ea, which is critically endangered.
Bullet The leatherback turtle, which visits offshore waters but normally does not nest in Hawaii.


Six-month ban on thrill craft
intended to protect whales

WAILUKU -- State officials are beginning to enforce a ban on thrill crafts for the next six months in waters designated as Maui Humpback Protected Waters.

High speed boating, parasailing, sledding and parasailing are forbidden within 3,000 feet of the shoreline from Pu'u Olai Point to Hawea Point and from Waihee to Maliko Bay.

The ban, which takes place during whale migration season from Dec. 15 through May 15, was imposed to protect whale mothers and calves that frequent near-shore waters.


Credit group suggests
ways to cut debt

The Credit Union National Association says to save money on holiday expenditures by practicing sound money management.

Make a realistic estimate of what you're likely to spend this holiday season, ask yourself if you can afford that much and where you might cut back, then stick to your budget, the association says.

If your total monthly debt payments, not including housing costs, total more than 20 percent of your net income, you're in danger of being overextended, it says, adding that it may be good to scale back and use cash instead of credit.

Shop for credit cards with no or low annual fees and low interest rates, and be aware that rates on cards issued from nonprofit credit unions average less interest than bank cards. The association advises that consumers using the lower-interest cards and making the minimum payments will save about $160 in financing costs on a $1,000 debt.

In addition to paying on time, avoiding late penalty fees and not going over your card's credit limit, the association reminds consumers that paying off all holiday bills by late March instead of just making minimum payments each month will mean long-term savings.

For example, on a $1,000 charge this holiday season, you could end up paying more than half of that amount in interest fees just by making minimum monthly payments. However, you'll pay less than $50 in interest if you pay off that debt in three months.


Nurses, hospitals talk as strike threat looms

Queen's Hospital resumed negotiations today with 800 registered nurses and a federal mediator.

Queen's nurses vote Wednesday on whether to strike on Christmas Eve.

St. Francis Hospital talked until midnight yesterday with a federal mediator.

"There was movement in St. Francis negotiations," said Nancy McGuckin, executive director for Hawaii Nurses Association. "We're hopeful there'll be an agreement. The major sticking point is staffing issues."

Nurses primarily want a lower patient load. So far, 1,680 registered nurses from Kapiolani, St. Francis and Queen's have given 10-day strike notices.

Gov. Ben Cayetano said yesterday that he would intervene if asked to help.

Cayetano said he's taken a neutral position in every labor dispute and becomes involved only at the parties' request.

Zoo gets funds to study stress, mating of birds

The Honolulu Zoological Society has received a $47,241 grant to oversee research on the way stress in a captive environment affects the courtship and nesting of Hawaiian honeycreepers.

Kathy Carlstead will coordinate studies at the Honolulu Zoo and four other U.S. zoos, the society said. Research results will provide information on conservation strategies for Hawaii's native forest birds.

The grant is from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Washington, D.C., federal agency.


Taking Notice

Honors earned

Bullet Officer Theodore Merrill of the Wahiawa district has been named the Honolulu Police Department's officer of the quarter, and the District 2 (Wahiawa) Crime Reduction Unit has been named unit of the quarter.

Officer Kevin Yamasaki of the Kalihi district has been awarded a certificate of merit.

Bullet Star Markets won the first-place award in the print advertising and magazine category in a competition sponsored by the Food and Marketing Institute and Women's Day magazine.

Bullet Sharlene Yamashita, principal broker for Watt-Homes-Hawaii, has been recognized as the company's national Top Sales Representative of the Year for 1998. She joined the company in 1998.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Shots fired from cars in two Oahu incidents

Police are investigating two separate attempted-murder cases involving shots fired from vehicles last night and early today.

No one was seriously injured in the shootings, which occurred at Mokuleia Army Beach on Farrington Highway and the intersection of Keeaumoku and Kinau streets.

The Mokuleia incident was reported at 12:15 a.m. Police said shots were fired from a truck at four security officers working at a private party. One of the officers suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, police said.

The second shooting was reported at 2:30 a.m. A 20-year-old man, driving a distinctive customized two-tone 1995 Honda, told police the shots were fired from another customized Honda while the two vehicles were at an intersection.

The shots shattered the two driver-side windows. The man and his woman passenger, 19, were not injured.

Injured hiker, 16, in fair condition at Queen's

One of two 16-year-old boys injured in a fall during a hike yesterday in Palolo Valley is listed in fair condition today at Queen's Hospital.

The other 16-year-old boy was treated at Queen's for minor injuries yesterday and released.

The boys were part of a hiking party of 10, including two adult supervisors, that hiked into the valley from Waiomao Road.

The two boys reportedly slipped off a steep ledge. They were able to grab onto trees about 10 feet below the ledge to break their fall but were unable to hang on, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

The boys then fell another 10 feet and landed in a stream bed. One of the supervisors used a cellular telephone to call for help.

Two killed in solo Big Island crash

KAILUA-KONA -- Two men were killed yesterday in an early morning car crash on Alii Drive.

Police said the car, driven by 23-year-old Joseph Wayne Taboniar of Kealakekua, was traveling south on Alii Drive when it crossed the center line and struck a rock wall and then a utility pole at about 1:15 a.m.

Taboniar and Sean Kahele, 24, of Honolulu were pronounced dead at Kona Community Hospital at 3:47 a.m., police said.

No one hurt in Kakaako knife-point robbery

No one was injured in an armed robbery early today outside the Exotic Nights nightclub on Halekauwila Street. The robbery was reported at 1:50 a.m., and one of the suspects was armed with a knife, police said.

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