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Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, December 14, 2000

Salvation Army, donors
brighten holidays for
10,500 children

Star-Bulletin staff

The Salvation Army will be distributing donated gifts to about 3,000 needy families on Oahu this holiday season. The families have sought assistance from The Salvation Army to help fill their need for toys, food, clothing and other necessities this Christmas.

Approximately, 10,500 children and 18,000 individuals will be served as a result of donations received.

Holiday gift items were donated by thousands of individuals, local businesses and organizations. Donated gift items from the Lokahi Tree Giving program, Toys for Tots, and the Angel Tree program will be distributed to all pre-qualified families at the following dates and locations:

Bullet Monday: 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. at Pier 21, Warehouse 6 and Nimitz Avenue
Bullet Tuesday and Wednesday: 6 -8 p.m. at 45-175 Waikalua Road, Kaneohe
Bullet Tuesday: 9-11 a.m. at 1106 Kilani Avenue, Wahiawa
Bullet Tuesday: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the corner of Koapaka and Paiea Streets
Bullet Dec. 22: 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. at Pier 21, Warehouse 6 and Nimitz Avenue

For more information, call Daniel de Castro at 440-1830.

Cause not pinpointed in costly high-rise fire

Fire investigators say Honolulu's worst high-rise fire started under a desk near a coffee maker in an office on the 16th floor of the First Interstate Building.

The April 1 fire caused $12 million in damage and may have been caused by an electrical short, but fire investigators say they cannot specify an exact cause.

Investigators are looking at several appliances, including a coffee maker, power tap, calculator and foot pedal connected to a power drill as possibly triggering the fire. The items were found in one of the rooms of the Honolulu Puka Shell Exchange on the 16th floor, where the fire reportedly started.

Fire officials have ruled out arson, smoking and spontaneous combustion.

Insurance companies representing damaged businesses have hired their own investigators.

"All the private investigators have tested the evidence, but the inquiries did not come out as they hoped," Fire Capt. Glenn Solem said.

The fire has called attention to the need for buildings to have a sprinkler system, fire officials said. "At the very least they should have smoke detectors," said Solem.

Prison inmate indicted in threatening of nurse

A medium security inmate at Halawa prison was indicted yesterday by an Oahu grand jury for allegedly holding a knife to the neck of a female nurse.

Alomalietoa Sua, 26, of Waipahu has been charged with kidnapping, terroristic threatening and promoting prison contraband for the Sept. 20 incident, during which, prison authorities said, he held a "shank" fashioned from a razor blade and two toothbrush handles to the neck and mouth of the nurse for about 30 minutes.

Sua has also been charged with possessing or obtaining crystal methamphetamine. He has been serving time for robbery convictions since July 1996. Several of his brothers also have served time in state correctional facilities.

Man pleads guilty in robbery, kidnapping

A Mililani man pleaded guilty yesterday to using a stun gun to rob and kidnap three Japanese tourists on Oct. 28.

As part of a plea agreement, Ralph P. Cuesta pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of second-degree kidnapping. He will be sentenced Feb. 22 to a 10-year term, deputy prosecutor Wayne Tashima said.

Ralph Cuesta, 20, entered the women's rental car while they were stopped at a traffic light near Dole Plantation.

He used a stun gun on the rear passenger and the driver, Cuesta said. The driver and front seat passenger were able to flee. The back-seat passenger jumped from the car after Cuesta took the wheel.

Dedication rites today for UH research center

A dedication ceremony was scheduled today for offices of the International Pacific Research Center, a climate research program at the University of Hawaii.

The research center was established four years ago by the United States and Japan to increase understanding of climate variation in the Asian-Pacific region and improve forecasting.


Some events of interest

Bullet 7 p.m., Hawaii Kai Library: Vision meeting. For information, call 523-4385.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Driver killed this morning in crash on Farrington

A 20-year-old man died early this morning after a sports utility vehicle he was driving crashed into a utility pole on Farrington Highway, police said.

The victim was Waianae-bound when his vehicle hit an electric pole near Honokai Hale subdivision, between Waiomea and Laa Loa streets at 3:20 a.m.

Police said he was taken to St. Francis Medical Center West, where he was pronounced dead.

Waianae police said speed could have been a factor.

Fire claims empty home in Big Isle subdivision

HILO -- A fire in rural Orchidland subdivision south of Hilo destroyed an unoccupied wooden home this morning.

The fire was reported at 4:50 a.m. and was brought under control at 5:13 a.m. Damage is estimated at $95,000. The cause is still under investigation, but the fire department says it is "suspicious."

Police suspect alcohol in fatal Maui wreck

WAILUKU -- The man who died in a four-vehicle collision in west Maui on Tuesday night has been identified as John A. Ruggiero Jr. of Haiku.

Ruggiero, 33, was driving a Nissan Maxima sedan west on Honoapiilani Highway near the Lahaina Pali at 11:41 p.m. when the crash occurred.

Alcohol is suspected as a contributing factor in the crash.

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