The state Department of Agriculture has reported three separate incidents involving illegal lizards during the weekend.
Two illegal lizards found,
another turned in
The department said a Nile monitor lizard was voluntarily turned in to the Honolulu Zoo under the amnesty program. The 3-foot reptile is being housed at the zoo.
A 4-foot iguana was picked up in Waimanalo by agriculture inspectors yesterday morning and is being kept at the Plant Quarantine Station.
The iguana was captured by a family after being cornered by the family's dogs.
A 3-foot iguana was found on Kauai Sunday and was taken to the Plant Quarantine Facility on Oahu.
Iguanas are believed to be established in Waimanalo but are not known to be established in the wild on Kauai.
Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to fines up to $200,000 and a maximum three-year jail term.
Senate labor panel backs higher wageThe state Senate Labor Committee approved a bill yesterday to increase Hawaii's hourly minimum wage to $5.95, effective July 1. It now stands at $5.25.
The measure calls for the minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on the state's consumer price index, meaning it would keep pace with inflation. It is unclear in the bill whether the minimum wage would be reduced should the consumer price index decline.
The bill also eliminates the current tip credit which allows employers to pay a minimum wage of $5.05 an hour to employees who earn at least 50 cents an hour in tips.
Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, cast the lone opposing vote against the bill which is traditionally opposed by the business community and supported by labor groups. The bill now goes to the Ways and Means Committee.
State Labor Director Leonard Agor noted that Hawaii's minimum wage was last increased in 1993.
An effort to increase the minimum wage last year became a casualty in a fight between the House and Senate over several pro-business bills.
Air Guard pilots escort troubled plane to MauiTwo Hawaii Air National Guard planes assisted a civilian aircraft that was running low on fuel and risked not making it to Maui.
The U.S. Coast Guard sent the two F-15 Eagles to assist the Beech 200 twin-engine plane at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
The pilot of the Beech 200 aircraft had issued a distress call, saying he was low on fuel and might not be able to land on Maui.
The two F-15's met the Beech 200 about 100 miles north of Maui and kept the twin-engine in sight until it landed safely at Kahului Airport.
Expert to speak about diabetes researchPediatric endocrinologist Alberto Hayek will describe advances in diabetes research, including cell transplantation therapies for Type I diabetes, at two public events this month in Hawaii.
Hayek directs the Islet Research Laboratory of the Whittier Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and is a pediatrics professor at the University of California, San Diego. He has been head of the Lucy Thorne Whittier Children's Center and the Islet Research Laboratory since 1984.
He will speak on Maui, 5 to 8 p.m., Feb. 20, at the Maui Electric Co. auditorium and in Honolulu, 6 to 8 p.m., Feb. 21, at the Blaisdell Center's Hawaiian Suites.
The Hawaii Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Straub Clinic and Hospital in Honolulu and Maui Memorial Medical Center are co-sponsoring the "Diabetes Research Update."
Hayek will discuss the latest developments in islet transplantation and different potential sources of insulin-producing cells for transplantation, including gene therapy approaches.
Islet transplantation involves injecting pancreatic islet cells into a patient's liver to stimulate insulin production and renew the body's ability to control blood sugars.
Type 1 diabetes, known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic, debilitating autoimmune disease in which the body destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells.
Type 2 diabetes results from inadequate production of insulin or an inability to use it properly.
For reservations and information about Hayek's talks, contact Cherie Fikani at 988-1000 or 1-800-925-5533, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two youth volunteers tapped for U.S. honorLauren Calhoun, 16, of Kauai High School and Celinda Stanton, 11, of St. Andrew's Priory in Honolulu have been named State Honorees by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for outstanding volunteerism.
They are among 104 youth volunteers, announced today, who will compete in May for the 10 top youth volunteers in America. All public and private schools, along with all Girl Scout councils and county 4-H organizations, were eligible to select a student or member.
Named as Distinguished Finalists in the nationwide program were: Tessa Munekiyo, 16, of Kona 4-H, Kealakekua, and Kauilani Ostrem, 17, of Kahuku High School, Honolulu.
Two youths from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were named as State Honorees in the program, sponsored by Prudential Insurance Co. of America and the National Association of Secondary School principals.
Each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in May for national recognition events.
Distinguished Finalists each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
The 10 National Honorees -- five middle level and five high school students -- will be named May 7.
Charities join forces to help boy in needFour local charities are helping to raise funds for a boy in need of a liver transplant, and they want to raise a quarter-mile of quarters to do it.
Dakota Denomie, 13, of Pearl City, contracted Hepatitis C a few years ago. He needs to relocate to California to receive a new liver.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hawaii State Women's Golf Association for Junior Golf, Hawaiian Humane Society and United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii realized the boy's grandmother is Norm Baxter, volunteer coordinator of the LPGA Ladies Hawaiian Open Golf Tournament. The groups have been charity recipients of the event for 15 years.
They will try to raise a quarter-mile of quarters to help the boy and his family with expenses.
The goal is to raise $3,960.
Each day of the Feb. 15-17 2001 Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open tournament at Kapolei Golf Course, a charity volunteer will encourage spectators to part with their quarters (and dollars).
All funds will go to the Dakota Denomie Medical Fund. For information, call 532-6744.
TomorrowSome events of interest
7 p.m., Liliuokalani Elementary School: Kaimuki No. 4 Neighborhood Board meeting, 3633 Waialae Ave. For information, call 527-5749.
7 p.m., Noelani Elementary School Cafetorium: Manoa No. 7 Neighborhood Board meeting, 2655 Woodlawn Drive. For information, call 527-5749.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
Cause of 14th-floor fire may be electricalInvestigators say a high-rise fire started yesterday at 927 Prospect St. in Makiki originated on the lanai of a 14th-floor apartment, where a full-sized refrigerator was plugged in. The probable cause is electrical, said fire spokesman Capt. Richard Soo. Preliminary damage is estimated at $200,000.
The Red Cross has provided the couple, a 75-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man, with temporary housing, as well as vouchers for food, clothing and other personal care items.
Relief may also be on the way for those affected by another high-rise fire Sunday at the Ala Wai Townhouse condominium.
That fire -- which took place in the elevator shaft -- shut down both elevators in the 21-story building, forcing the residents, many of them elderly, to walk the stairs. The resident manager of the building says repair crews hope to have one elevator working sometime today.
Police seek suspect who hit girl with golf ballCrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department are asking the public's assistance to find a suspect who was hitting golf balls Friday night at the University of Hawaii. A ball struck an Iolani softball player in the mouth.
Starting center fielder Amy Taniguchi was standing in the dugout at Rainbow Wahine Stadium during the Baldwin vs. Iolani semi-final softball game when a golf ball struck her in the mouth during the top of the 7th inning. The senior lost her lower middle tooth, suffered a fractured top gumline and swollen and bruised lips. Iolani coach Chris Shimabukuro said Taniguchi was unable to play the last game of the season the following day.
Police said the incident occurred between 7 and 7:30 Friday night and the golf balls came from the direction of Johnson Hall.
Boy stabbed at carnival in better conditionThe 15-year-old boy who was stabbed twice at the Punahou Carnival Friday night was upgraded from guarded to serious condition at the Queen's Medical Center, police said.
Police recovered two knives, but it is not certain if they were used in the stabbing. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers.
One killed, one injured in Kauai traffic accidentLIHUE -- One man was killed and another seriously injured in a one-car accident on Halewili Road near Kalaheo yesterday morning, according to the Kauai Fire Department.
Fire officials said the car apparently left the roadway at a high speed at about 8:45 a.m. and hit several trees. Both occupants were thrown from the vehicles.
The dead man was identified as a 21-year-old New Mexico resident who was visiting family in Waimea. The injured man is a 20-year-old Kalaheo resident.
26-year-old man accused of threatening stepfatherA 26-year-old man was arrested for threatening his 51-year-old stepfather at gunpoint following an argument, police said.
The incident was reported about 1:38 p.m. yesterday on Pohemo Street in Aiea. The suspect allegedly fired two rounds in the air.
Boy in guarded condition after fall from mopedA 15-year-old boy is in guarded condition this morning at Queen's Medical Center after he fell off his moped yesterday. The incident occurred at 7:15 a.m. in front of Kalani High School.