State workers net honors for efficiencySeveral employees of the state Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division are recipients of the Second Annual Slice Waste and Tape Awards.
Neil Shim, Cynthia Lefever and Guy Tagomori initiated a fax and e-mail system to issue warrants for payments for medical reports, supplies and incidentals for disability-related services. Staff members Edwin Igarashi and Marion Izumi were also recognized for helping implement the procedure.
Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono said: "This team has made a world of difference for the customers they serve. Their work to automate payment warrants helps benefit recipients get their much-needed payments and services more quickly, while vendors get paid at a faster rate."
Last year, Hirono recognized state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs administrator Noe Noe Tom for her work in streamlining the real estate industry's licensing and application process.
Nutrition program expands statewideState health officials have changed their guidelines, making more families eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
The program provides nutrition education and nourishing supplemental foods for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. The program also provides supplemental foods for children under 5 years old. Families must meet income, residency and nutritional risk requirements.
Fay Nakamoto, chief of the Women, Infant and Children Services Branch, said, "The WIC program has made a real difference in promoting healthy pregnancies and child development in Hawaii, but there are many eligible families that are unaware of the program and its benefits."
The program currently serves about 32,200 people in Hawaii per month.
Working families, including Hawaii's military families, may be eligible for the program's benefits.
Those interested can enroll in the program at any of the Women, Infants and Children agencies statewide. For more information, call Oahu's WIC Services at 586-8175. Residents on the neighbor islands can call toll-free at 1-800-820-6425.
Kona farmers seek federal drought reliefHONOMALINO, Hawaii >> A group of remote South Kona farmers, suffering from a decade of drought, is seeking members to expand the Honomalino Irrigation Cooperative, they announced.
The group has 65 members, but many more people near the South Kona district boundary are eligible, said president Ellen Mehos.
Last month, a planning team from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service visited the area to study a federal cost-sharing project proposal, Mehos said.
A preliminary figure of $12 million was estimated for three wells and a pipeline system, she said. A major participant would be MacFarms of Hawaii, but others are needed.
Traffic eases near Hawaii military basesCommuter traffic was heavy this morning at all island bases, but moved substantially faster at Pearl Harbor than earlier this week.
At Pearl Harbor the Navy staggered its work schedule to try to break the gridlock that had occurred over the past few days. Sailors assigned to submarines and ships were told to report no later than 5:30 a.m. Shipyard personnel an hour later and other sailors and civilians assigned to shore offices at 8:30 a.m.
The Navy said the staggered work hours at Pearl Harbor will be reviewed daily.
At the Army's three major installations normal work hours were in affect and all soldiers and civilian workers reported back to work yesterday. However, there were still long lines of cars at Schofield Barracks this morning because only one gate was being used. Part of the reason for this morning's heavy traffic at Schofield also was because two public schools there reopened today.
The state also kept the zipper lane open until 9:30 this morning.
Major Robert Prasser, of the HPD's traffic division, credited the reduced security level with unclogging some of the roadways that had become parking lots the day before.
"Because the gates moved faster, the traffic didn't back up onto the public streets," he said.
The military did reduce its security level yesterday. The Navy opened three gates at Pearl Harbor and did random checks of cars rather than inspecting all cars.
HPU ends renovations, adds high-tech classroomHawaii Pacific University has a new high-tech multipurpose classroom in Kaneohe, as well as expanded and renovated student services offices downtown.
Hawaii Pacific University put $1.3 million into construction and renovation at its downtown and Windward campuses this summer.
The Windward campus' new classroom on the ground floor of the academic center is the largest on both campuses, accommodating 75.
The university also made improvements to its downtown campus, including renovating the Academic Advising Center, Information Technology Services, English Foundations Program and the International Recruitment and Admissions office, formerly located at the Windward campus.
Mirasol Espanola-Lim, assistant dean of the Academic Advising Center, said, "The added space in our office also helped us hire two more people on board to assist students and help them achieve their academic goals."
5.2-magnitude quake hits near underwater volcanoAn earthquake registering 5.2 occurred early yesterday near the Loihi seamount off the southeast coast of the Big Island -- the second one in recent days.
Geologist Barry Hirshorn of the Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach said the earthquake occurred at 3:13 a.m.
It was not strong enough to generate a tsunami, he said.
Big Island police said they had no reports of anyone feeling the earthquake.
Hirshorn said an earthquake registering 5.0 occurred in the same area Monday.
Loihi is an active volcano 3,000 feet deep on the ocean floor about 20 miles off the Big Island. In thousands of years it is expected to create another island in the Hawaiian chain.
Volcanoes Park to build permanent fee stationHILO >> Fifteen years after temporary kiosks were erected at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to collect entrance fees, a permanent entrance station will be built, the park said.
Work will begin Monday on the $338,000 project, expected to take six months.
Corrections and clarifications>> The Honolulu Police Department helicopter has FAA approval to fly despite restrictions on other aircraft. A front-page story in yesterday's late edition had incorrect information.
>> The toll number for the Maui ferry service is 1-800-275-6969. The wrong number was printed in a story on page A8 yesterday.
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
Mountain View blaze torches 10 acres of landHILO >> Twenty-eight firefighters battled a brush fire about 9:35 a.m. yesterday near Omega Road in the Fern Forest subdivision of Mountain View.
By the time it was extinguished at 1:30 p.m., the fire had burned between seven and 10 acres of wildland, fire officials said.
Investigators determined the cause of the fire was unauthorized control-burning in the area.
Rage over wave boils and 2 men are arrestedTwo men were arrested yesterday after both allegedly held another man underwater.
Police said the 31-year-old victim was surfing in front of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Wednesday afternoon when two suspects, ages 41 and 43, accused the victim of taking their wave.
The suspects grabbed the victim and held him underwater, police said. The victim told police he almost passed out but was able to break free and swim to shore.
The two suspects were arrested for second-degree attempted murder.
Federal indictments in undercover drug stingAn undercover drug sting led to federal indictments against 11 people for trafficking crack cocaine in the Kalihi-Palama/Chinatown area. Federal prosecutors said the arrests and indictments were the result of a four-month investigation that involved undercover Honolulu police officers assuming the role of drug sellers.
U.S. Attorney Elliot Enoki said the operation took place in response to numerous complaints from the public about drug trafficking on North King Street near the junction of North King and North Beretania. Those arrested and charged in the case are Calvin Militante, 24; Wili Poe, also known as Faiga Poe, 46; Justin Eliapo, 18; Albert Tuia, 22; Apelaamo Sulu, 52; Toa Vai, 48; Theresa Tuua, also known as Theresa Montgomery, 30; Aundra Gillyourd, 36; Latoya Terry, 20; April Montalbo, 21; and Marie Montalbo, 23.
The sting netted 35 other defendants who were referred to state court. Eleven vehicles were also confiscated for forfeiture under state law.
Federal defendants face between one and 40 years in prison if convicted. State defendants face up to 10 years' imprisonment for selling drugs and five years' imprisonment for drug possession.
The operation was conducted by the Kalihi Crime Reduction Unit.
Alert Kalihi resident puts out fire with garden hoseA defective electrical wire caused a fire at a Kalihi home yesterday afternoon, according to Capt. Richard Soo, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department.
Firefighters were called to the home on Makuahine Place about 3:34 p.m.
Investigators determined the blaze originated in the master bedroom.
A resident, who was home at the time of the fire, evacuated the house and put the fire out using a garden hose from the window, Soo said. Damage was estimated at $35,000 to the structure and its contents.
The American Red Cross assisted the six people who lived in the house.
12-year-old girl arrested for brandishing scissorsPolice arrested a 12-year-old girl after she allegedly threaten.ed another student with a pair of scissors yesterday during art class in a Mililani school.
Police said the victim, an 11-year-old boy, ran away and the suspect chased him. A teacher intervened and stopped the suspect from harming the boy, police said.
The girl was arrested for terroristic threatening and then released pending investigation.