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Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Alleged smuggler of nude models
expected to change plea

The alleged leader of a Honolulu-based ring accused of smuggling Japanese nationals into the United States to work as nude Internet models was expected to change his not guilty plea today.

Akira Sekimoto was to make a new plea at a hearing today before U.S District Judge Helen Gillmor.

He is one of four men who pleaded not guilty earlier and was ordered held without bail after his arrest in January. His three codefendants were released to await trial after posting signature bonds.

The arrests were the result of a five-month investigation and a raid on a Kamehameha Heights home in January by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Four Japanese women have since pleaded guilty to using false information to enter the United States.

The women were returned to Japan in February after they paid a $40 fine and were sentenced to six months unsupervised probation.


Two people, two groups
win city cultural honors

The city has honored two individuals and two organizations for their significant cultural contributions to the community.

Musician-filmmaker Eddie Kamae, ethnomusicologist professor Barbara B. Smith, the Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education and the Moanalua Gardens Foundation for its Prince Lot Festival received the Arts 2000 Award at a ceremony at Honolulu Hale recently.

Kamae is a native Hawaiian singer, ukulele virtuoso, composer and co-founder of the Sons of Hawaii musical group. He is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, researcher and key figure in the Hawaiian cultural renaissance movement.

Smith pioneered in the field of ethnomusicology, the study of non-European music. She created the ethnomusicology department at the University of Hawaii, when the discipline was rare in American universities.

She arrived in Hawaii 50 years ago to teach standard music, but expanded her lessons to include the music of Hawaii, the Pacific and Asia. In 1960, she became the first chair of the graduate ethnomusicology program.

The Hawaii Alliance was started in 1980 as a nonprofit agency to promote arts education, including dance, music, theater and visual arts among Hawaii's children and their families.

Moanalua Gardens Foundation's Prince Lot Festival features the finest hula halau in song and dance. It is the oldest non-competitive hula festival, and also features other traditional Hawaiian arts and pastimes, including games, quilt display and craft demonstrations.


Fireworks disposal begins tomorrow

Police bomb experts tomorrow will begin destroying the 14 tons of illegal fireworks seized before New Year's celebrations, Chief Lee Donohue said this morning.

The fireworks will be transported to the department's training academy in Waipahu where the contraband will be destroyed in 55-gallon steel drums behind a protective metal fence. Test burnings are scheduled for tomorrow.

The disposal will take between two to three weeks, depending on the weather and other factors, said bomb expert Sgt. Mike Kaainoa. Police will be limited to destroying up to 2,000 pounds of fireworks a day.

Police officials had wanted to destroy the fireworks earlier but the required environmental permits and questions over whether the department had the authority to destroy the fireworks delayed the operation, Donohue said.

Councilman Felix released from hospital

Councilman John Henry Felix left Queen's Hospital yesterday after a week's stay.

Chief aide Ron Boyer said the 69-year-old councilman from East Honolulu won't be going to work for at least a week.

Exactly what caused Felix to be hospitalized is not known. He admitted himself on the afternoon of March 20 after complaining of light-headedness.

Hilo Hospital has new administrator

HILO -- The Hawaii Health System Corp. has named Ronald Schurra of Spokane, Wash., the new administrator of Hilo Hospital.

He will take over April 18, replacing Dr. Robert Morris, Health Systems spokesman Miles Takaaze said. Morris resigned in November for personal reasons.

Schurra's duties in the $172,000-a-year post will include oversight of Kau Hospital and Hale Hoola Hamakua long-term care facility.

Former Kauai lawyer suspended for 30 days

The Hawaii Supreme Court has suspended Thomas M. Medeiros, 54, a former Kauai lawyer, for 30 days.

Medeiros failed to provide opposing counsel with a copy of his letter to a judge objecting to the state's motion for sanction in a criminal case, according to a Judiciary announcement.

He was already on suspension since June 30 for failing to cooperate with the high court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel in two other matters which remain under investigation.

He now lives in Oregon.

Loan approved for new Big Isle holding cells

HILO -- The Rural Development agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a $1.8 million loan to Hawaii County to build new police holding cells.

The Hawaii County Council has already approved a funding mechanism for the 18-cell facility next to the Hilo police station. The station now has only five cells to hold detainees.



Bullet Noelle Kahanu is a member of Hui Malama, but was not a founding member as reported in Saturday's Star-Bulletin regarding Hawaiian artifacts removed from Bishop Museum. She was working for Sen. Dan Inouye at the time Hui Malama was founded.

When Kahanu contacted the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands about repatriation of the Forbes Caves artifacts to Hui Malama it was in her capacity as a Bishop Museum employee, not as a Hui Malama member.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Boy arrested following video games assault

A boy was arrested yesterday for breaking another boy's nose after an argument over video games.

The boys were playing video games at a Kahualena Place home in Waipahu on Sunday when they got into an argument, police said. During the fight, one boy struck the other boy in the face with the video game controller.

The boy, who was injured by the controller, was taken to a local hospital where he was found to have a broken nose.

His parents filed a police report yesterday and the juvenile suspect was arrested for felony assault, police said.

Bank-robbery suspect arrested in Alaska

Police in Alaska have arrested a suspect in the May 14, 1999, robbery of the Kapalama Branch of City Bank.

Police at Unalaska, Alaska, apprehended Juan Martin Barrientos, 33, on Sunday. He is expected to be extradited from Alaska to face a federal bank robbery charge in Honolulu.

Fisherman, who died at sea, is brought home

The body of an Oahu fisherman, who died from an accident out at sea, arrived in Honolulu yesterday.

The 36-year-old man was struck in the chest with a swivel on Wednesday when a fishing line snapped, police said. The long-line commercial fishing boat was about 500 miles from the Hawaiian Islands.

He lost consciousness and was taken to his bunk, police said. He was later discovered dead.

The boat arrived in Honolulu yesterday and his body was taken away by medical examiners.

U.S. Coast Guard investigators are examining the case. But police said there were no signs of foul play.

2,500 Heco customers lose power last night

About 2,500 Hawaiian Electric customers experienced a power outage for about a half-hour last night in parts of Pacific Heights, Nuuanu, Papakolea and along Wyllie and School streets.

"We started receiving calls at 10 minutes after 7," said Fred Kobashikawa, Heco spokesman.

A broken connector was found at Nuuanu Avenue and School Street, and power was back at 7:39, Kobashikawa said.

A trouble crew isolated the broken connector and re-routed power around it, then worked on the de-energized line to make needed repairs, Kobashikawa said.

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