17 Makalapa pupils suffer eye irritationSixteen students and one educational assistant from Makalapa Elementary School were taken to nearby hospitals this morning after they experienced itchiness and irritation to their skin, eyes and throat.
Honolulu Fire Department officials believe the students were exposed to either pepper spray or mace but are not sure because they could not find the source of the irritation.
Both of HFD's Hazardous Materials Teams were at the school to decontaminate those who were exposed to the unknown substance.
City ambulances took the 16 kids and one adult to Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi and Tripler Army Medical Center as a precaution where physicians examined then released them.
School officials contacted the parents of the affected kids to inform them of what happened and to tell them they can meet their children at the hospitals.
School Principal Raymond Fujii said the first kids started complaining of skin, eye and throat irritation at the school's health room about 8 a.m. He called the Fire Department at 9:09 a.m. after unsuccessfully trying to determine the source of the cause the irritation.
Fujii said he did determine that all of the kids affected were in the same spot outside Building G before the start of school. He believes the educational assistant, who is a mother of one of the affected students, may have been exposed later when she made physical contact with her daughter.
Those affected were confined to the health room and the remaining students and staff were evacuated to the cafeteria.
The school resumed classes at 11 a.m. after getting the all-clear sign from fire, health and Department of Education officials.
However, a handful of parents who noticed the commotion as they were driving by the school decided to take their kids home early.
Kapolei Public Library could open in 2003The Kapolei Public Library could open in September 2003, nearly two years after construction is scheduled to be completed, if the state Legislature agrees to $1.8 million in emergency funding.
The Board of Education approved the request for the funds last night. The action could speed up the process of obtaining the money for furniture, books and operating expenses from the Legislature.
If the library gets the money, it could open in September 2003. Funding for construction has already been approved and the structure is expected to be completed in December.
Police chief denies delay in food funds inquiryHonolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue said there was "no delay or reluctance" to begin an investigation involving wrongdoing at the Police Department main receiving desk.
Donohue's response comes after an HPD major told the Honolulu Police Commission that it took HPD two weeks to assign an investigator to the case.
In a written statement yesterday, Donohue said, "I informed the Honolulu Police Commission at a commission meeting on Nov. 1, 2000, that we would be investigating the allegations and that the investigation may involved high-ranking officials."
Retired Maj. Gordon Young, who was still on active duty when he made the complaint on Oct. 30, said he told two deputy chiefs that some of the food being purchased for the police cellblock was not necessarily being eaten by prisoners. Young said he requested then-Capt. Dan Hanagami be assigned to investigate the case.
But Donohue said yesterday that Hanagami was out of town from Nov. 1 to 8 and could not work on the case right away.
A state grand jury has indicted Assistant Chief Rafael Fajardo and Maj. Jeffrey Owens on theft charges in the case.
Teamsters ratify Kapiolani contractHawaii Teamsters 996 ratified a new contract yesterday for nearly 200 blue collar workers at Kapiolani Health Center. The contract includes a 6 percent wage increase which breaks down to 2 percent every year for the next three years.
The contract is also retroactive since June 24 of this year. Kapiolani blue collar workers include maintenance workers, dietary aides, nurses aides and food service workers.
Arakawa again fails to gain public counselA Circuit Court judge has for a second time denied a motion to appoint a deputy public defender for Clyde Arakawa, the former police officer who faces a manslaughter trial in January on charges of driving while intoxicated and causing the death of 19-year-old Dana Ambrose last October.
Defense attorney Michael Ostendorp first sought representation for his client by the Public Defender's Office in July, saying Arakawa had exhausted his financial resources and could not pay for his defense.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn, who denied the initial request, denied Ostendorp's second request yesterday.
However, the judge said she would ask the state for help in getting police officers to testify after Ostendorp said he could not afford the cost of subpoenas.
"I prevailed. I got everything I asked for," Ostendorp said, adding that he would no longer seek representation by a public defender for Arakawa.
Ahn reminded Ostendorp yesterday that she denied his initial motion because expenses -- more than $85,000 combined for expert and legal fees -- indicated that Arakawa was not indigent. The state had objected to the request for a public defender, saying taxpayers' money should be used for defendants who are genuinely needy.
Deputy Prosecutor Jean Ireton spoke only briefly yesterday, saying the prosecution assumed Arakawa no longer had $22,000 that he was thought to have had at the time of his initial motion.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Publisher and Editor in Chief John Flanagan at 529-4748 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrections and clarifications
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
Two suspects arrested in balcony fall caseTwo men have been arrested in connection with an attempted murder at a Waimalu Hotel on Wednesday in which the victim jumped or was pushed off a third floor balcony.
A 28-year-old Honolulu man turned himself in to police about noon yesterday and a 33-year-old Waikiki man was arrested last night. Both were arrested for attempted murder and burglary. Police said the victim, a 33-year-old Oahu man, was being chased by two men at the Harbor Shores Apartment Hotel at 98-145 Lipoa Rd. early Wednesday when he either fell or was pushed from the third-floor balcony of his rented room. He was taken to Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.
Second suspect charged in alleged extortion plotPolice charged Carl De Pietropaolo, 49, of Whitmore Village yesterday with robbery, theft, extortion and kidnapping in connection with last month's attempted extortion of the owner of Giovanni's Aloha Shrimp plate lunch wagon. They arrested him on Wednesday. His bail is $100,000.
Connie Aragona, 46, has also been charged and is awaiting trial. Her bail is $120,000.
Woman says boyfriend threatened her with gunsHonolulu police arrested a man Wednesday who allegedly threatened his girlfriend with two different handguns.
Police said there were two incidents, one on May 6, the other on Aug. 28.
Police said in the May incident, the suspect pulled out a .357 Magnum and pointed the gun at the victim during an argument. Then last month, the suspect pulled out a .38-caliber revolver during another argument, police said.
Police said the victim called police this week after she got into another argument with the suspect at the suspect's mother's apartment. Police arrested the suspect for two counts of terroristic threatening and also seized the two handguns.
3,100 HECO customers in the dark after car crashThe last Hawaiian Electric Company customers whose power was knocked out last night when a truck hit a utility pole had their electricity restored at 2:46 this morning.
The truck hit the pole at the Tantalus Drive and Puowaina Drive intersection knocking out power to 3,100 HECO customers shortly after 7 p.m.
Victim of Tuesday crash was resident of WaikikiThe Honolulu medical examiner has identified the man who died Tuesday night when he crashed his vehicle at Kapiolani Park as Claude G. Heon, 43, of Waikiki.
Police said Heon was traveling north on Paki Avenue near the Diamond Head Tennis Courts when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and slammed head-on into a tree.