Mediation between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state resumes next week.
More HSTA mediation next week
After meeting on Wednesday, both sides will once again meet with the federal mediator on Monday and Tuesday, evaluating at that point whether to schedule more sessions, HSTA chief negotiator Joan Husted said.
The union and the state entered into mediation after the Hawaii Labor Relations Board declared an impasse in contract talks, meaning a strike could be called as early as March.
The state is offering a 9 percent raise, saying that is all it can afford -- especially with other unions waiting in the wings to settle their contracts.
The HSTA, meanwhile, wants 22 percent. The union says a hefty raise is needed to attract and keep qualified teachers in Hawaii and to address a teacher shortage.
The 15-day mediation phase runs out Dec. 21, but Husted said mediation could also be used again during a cooling-off period which is later on in the impasse process.
Grand jury indicts pair in Chinatown gamblingA federal grand jury indictment charges Hong Kong resident Po Kwong Li, also known as Simon and Simon Abu -- owner of E Sing Antiques, later called Fantasia Art Gallery -- and Kai Sang Lu, establishment manager, with running an illegal gambling business in Honolulu's Chinatown.
The indictment accuses them of operating illegal card and dice games.
The two face possible fines and/or up to five years' imprisonment on each count in the indictment. If convicted, Li also faces forfeiture of $177,000 in gambling proceeds, federal officials said. The illegal activity went on from at least January 1996 to late January or February 1997, they said.
Pueo honors Kekumano
State, hotel bargaining on ceded-land rentThe state Board of Land and Natural Resources was expected to discuss a possible land exchange with the owners of the Big Island's Hilton Waikoloa Hotel at a meeting in Hilo today.
The state and hotel owners LanPar/HTL Associates have been negotiating back rent for 1.83 acres of ceded land on the hotel grounds.
At one point the state had threatened to foreclose on the property.
The land in question -- which includes part of the lagoons, ballrooms and wedding chapel -- sits on a site formerly owned by the Hawaiian crown and government.
Twenty percent of revenue from ceded-land use is supposed to be paid to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
LanPar/HTL Associates has agreed in concept to a $4,000 one-time payment to use the submerged lands, and a land exchange worth $403,626 for use of the filled lands.
The land to be swapped has yet to be acquired, but options include shoreline resort property along the Kona Coast, property to land-bank or consolidate with other state-owned lands, and commercial or industrial income property.
Time to get rid of hazardous wasteThat old bottle of hardened nail polish in the medicine cabinet is considered a hazardous waste item that should be disposed of safely. Oahu residents will have their chance to get rid of hazardous wastes this Saturday from 9 to 11:45 a.m., but only by appointment.
The city Refuse Division holds hazardous-waste collections four times a year. Directions to the designated sites will be given only over the phone for the disposal of household products, said Suzanne Jones, city recycling coordinator.
Hazardous waste includes a wide range of materials from common household cleaners like bleach to supertoxic substances like pesticides and motor oil, she said.
On an average yearly basis, the city collects more than 3,000 tons of hazardous waste, Jones said.
The best way to prevent waste is to "use up everything that's bought, or to share or give away leftovers," she said.
In July her division mailed out a 32-page pamphlet, "Taking Care of Garbage," to every household via MidWeek magazine. To receive a copy, call 527-5335 or check the division's Web site, www.opala.org. To arrange drop-off appointments, call 523-4774.
TomorrowSome events of interest
9 a.m., Damien Memorial High School, 1401 Houghtailing St.: Vision meeting. For information, call 523-4385.
5:30-7 p.m., Hawaii Kai Towne Center: "Festival of Lights" boat parade.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
Fake money leads to Cambodia arrestA 49-year-old Japanese-American man from Hawaii was arrested by immigration authorities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on suspicion of trying to leave Cambodia with counterfeit U.S. dollar bills, police sources said.
The suspect, Tomochi Abe, arrived in Phnom Penh on Tuesday and tried to leave the country the following day after allegedly receiving a suitcase with counterfeit bills from a friend, another foreign national.
The suspect reportedly told Cambodian officials he was asked by a friend in the United States to carry the suitcase to Bangkok and did not know about its contents.
Hilo officials continue search for 2 huntersHILO -- Fire Department rescue personnel planned to resume a search today for two hunters who failed to return from a hunt off Stainback Highway a mile below Kulani prison.
A pickup truck with a dog was found on the rural road yesterday, but there was no sign of hunters Sean Miller and Randall McGowan, the fire department said.
An air and ground search of a 6-square-mile area of forest failed to locate the men.
Strange man at Kaimiloa causes school lockdownTeachers at an Ewa Beach elementary school were asked to keep children in their classrooms and lock the doors after a stranger wandered onto the campus yesterday.
At about 1 p.m., a man approached some teachers at Kaimiloa Elementary School and began muttering incoherently, school officials said.
The principal, Stan Tamashiro, said he called for a 30-second "shelter in place" bell to be sounded, which means there is a dangerous situation on campus. The lockdown lasted for about 10 minutes.
The man did not threaten or harm anyone, Tamashiro said. Police searched the neighborhood, found the man and took him into custody.
It was the first lockdown for the school, which practices the drill every quarter. Students were sent home with a letter advising parents that staff counselors would be on hand to speak to their children today, if needed.
"I think safety is very important," Tamashiro said. "We, along with many schools, have safety committees to deal with the uniqueness of each school."
Police seek gunman in Sand Island robberyPolice are looking for a man who allegedly robbed a Sand Island Access Road business shortly before 10 p.m. yesterday.
Police say the suspect entered the business with a handgun and struggled with the owner, who tried to disarm him. A gun was fired during the struggle, and the suspect forced the victim into his office and demanded money and car keys, police said.
The man fled in a 1987 blue two-door Chevrolet Monte Carlo, license number FSE 895.
Burglars may have set Wahiawa Heights fireBurglars apparently set a fire that gutted a three-bedroom Wahiawa Heights house yesterday.
Fire investigators discovered a trail of flammable liquid from the front door into the living room in the fire at 1633 Glen Ave.
A couple with three children had just rented the unfurnished house, said fire department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo. No one was home at the time of the 1:27 p.m. blaze. The three-bedroom, two-bath house was unfurnished, and the family had moved in only a box of dishes. They returned to their former rental home.
Damage was estimated at $155,000.