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Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Waimea road workers
begin setting up

State officials met with the contractor selected to realign Kamehameha Highway in the Waimea rockfall area and issued a notice to proceed with work.

Goodfellow Brothers then began moving equipment to the site, hoping to have an office set up by today, and ordered construction materials.

The company also began design of retaining walls and a topographic survey.

The work sequence has this scenario:

Bullet Drop water level in the marsh area to four feet by siphoning or pumping.
Bullet Move the old Board of Water Supply water line from the makai edge of the old road to the center of the old road.
Bullet Prepare the slope, including removing rock from the slope.
Bullet Construct the retaining wall; back-fill and build the roadway, shoulders and sidewalks.
Bullet Drop the old road four feet below the new road for the rock catchment area.
Other actions the state announced were:
Bullet Hawaiian Electric Co. and GTE Hawaiian Tel finished moving lines from the makai side of the road to temporary poles on the mauka side next to the cliff in preparation for realignment.
Bullet Kiewit Pacific expects to complete removal of loose rocks from the cliff face above the road by this weekend and will continue to maintain and repair the temporary Menehune Connector Road until the new road is finished.


Bishop Museum fires public relations chief

Bishop Museum has fired its public relations manager, Nanette Purnell, apparently in a dispute over the Forbes Cave artifacts.

"I'll only say that I will confirm that I was fired and that I can't say anything pending possible litigation," she said.

Asked if the action was related to the Forbes Cave artifacts, she replied, "Generally yes."

Museum officials could not be reached for comment.

Purnell is an expert on Hawaii graveyards and author of "Oahu Cemetery, Burial Ground and Historic Site."

The museum released 83 rare items found in the Forbes Cave to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei Feb. 26. The matter is related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Electric pole snaps, cuts Kaneohe power

A Hawaiian Electric pole broke off at the base on Kahekili Highway near Haiku Road yesterday, knocking out power for 1,800 Kaneohe customers.

"We first started receiving calls at 11:12 a.m.," said Fred Kobashikawa, a Heco spokesman.

"We were able to restore power to most of the customers by 1:10 p.m."



Bullet Custo Dalmau will be in the first floor Leisure Apparel department of Neiman Marcus from 3 to 7 p.m. May 2. An item in yesterday's Today section gave an incorrect date.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Elderly pedestrian dies after being hit by car

A 72-year-old man, who was hit by a car yesterday while crossing a street in Kalihi, died last night.

He was walking inside a crosswalk on Middle Street when he was struck by a 1993 Honda Accord at 8:09 a.m., police said. The car was heading east on Rose Street and was making a left turn onto Middle Street when it struck the man, police said. The driver was not injured.

The pedestrian was taken to Queen's Hospital in critical condition and he died several hours later.

Speed and alcohol use have been ruled out as factors in the accident.


In the courts

Teacher pleads guilty to 11 charges of sex assault

A Mililani Mauka Elementary teacher accused of raping an 11-year-old girl has pleaded guilty to 11 reduced charges of sexual assault.

Third-grade teacher Kevin Kurasaki, now faces a 5-year prison term on each count to be served concurrently, under a plea agreement reached with the state.

Kurasaki, 36, was initially charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault -- punishable by 20 years each -- seven counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of attempted first-degree sexual assault.

The 11 counts stemmed from three incidents that occurred between Dec. 25, 1998 and March 18, 1999. One of the assaults occurred in Kurasaki's classroom during off-school hours.

The state yesterday agreed to the plea bargain because sex assault cases are difficult to prosecute and the parents wanted to spare the girl additional trauma, said Deputy Prosecutor Renee Sonobe-Hong.

Kurasaki's attorney, Sam King Jr., said his client was satisfied with the agreement. Kurasaki will be sentenced June 5.

Kurasaki, hired by the Department of Education in September 1987, was no longer with the department as of Nov. 5, 1999. He had been on department-directed leave since April 1999.

Man gets 20 years for killing his grandmother

A state judge has sentenced a man convicted of strangling his 78-year-old grandmother to 20 years in prison.

Denny Usui, 28, will have to serve a mandatory six years and eight months behind bars because of the victim's age.

Usui, initially charged with second-degree murder in the death of Joyce M. Usui last July, pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of manslaughter under a plea agreement. He could have faced a life term with the possibility of parole if convicted of the more serious charge.

Usui told doctors that he killed his grandmother because aliens from the future had taken over her body. Due to auditory hallucinations, he also believed his grandmother wanted him to kill her.

Usui has been taking medication that has put a stop to his auditory hallucinations, said his attorney, deputy public defender Todd Eddins.

Usui's father and other family members bear no ill will toward him but do feel he needs to serve some time incarcerated for what he did, Eddins said.

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