Christmas Eve blaze damages Waianae homeThree Waianae residents went ahead with their Christmas party last night even after the second story of their house was destroyed by fire. Firefighters said they were called to the scene at 86-923 Moelima St. at 5:41 p.m. yesterday.
Fire officials said the residents, two men and a woman, were downstairs when they heard glass cracking. The group went out to investigate and saw smoke upstairs.
One of the residents jumped on the roof and shot water from a garden hose, but flames still caused an estimated $60,000 in damage. Water and smoke also damaged the downstairs of the home, and residents were told by fire officials that they should not stay there last night. They declined Red Cross assistance and said instead that they would stay with relatives who lived on the same street.
Fire officials said no one lives upstairs, according to residents. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Woman faces prison time for extortion, tax chargesA Honolulu businesswoman faces up to 19 years in prison for extortion and filing false annual general excise tax returns, state Tax Director Marie Okamura said Thursday.
Catherine Chan Coelho was charged with one count of extortion from Armstrong Building Maintenance for the years 1995 through 1998 and with three counts of filing false tax returns for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997, Okamura said in a news release.
Extortion is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Coelho also faces up to three years in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine for each false return.
Her husband, Dexter Coelho, was also charged with four counts of tax evasion of his general excise taxes for the years 1995 through 1998. He faces up to five years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines for each tax year.
In a separate matter, Okamura said criminal tax charges have been brought against Rise K. Ramos, who operated Bank Equipment Services, for failing to file returns for 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Also charged were Ric K. Ramos, who failed to file his returns for 1998 and 1999, and Yvonne Ramos, who did not file tax returns for the years 1995 through 1998, Okamura said.
Special UH courses to be taught on Big IslandNext month, Big Island residents can study in Kona with visiting University of Hawaii faculty as part of the Hawaii Community College and its West Hawaii Center's visiting professor series.
The courses will be taught over four weekends on a Friday evening and Saturday daytime schedule, beginning Jan. 25.
UH West Oahu professor Dan Boylan will teach Introduction to Political Science, covering the nature of the state, basic forms of government, political party roles, public administration and international affairs.
Linus T.H. Chao of Hawaii Community College will teach Oriental Brush Painting, covering the basic techniques and concepts involved in traditional Chinese painting.
Trina Nahm-Mijo, also of Hawaii Community College, will teach Introduction to Women's Studies, presenting an interdisciplinary examination of the evolving role, status and identity of women in a multicultural society, emphasizing patterns of social change and their effect on contemporary issues.
For more information or to register for any of the courses, call the Office of Student Services, Hawaii Community College -- West Hawaii Center at 808-322-4856.
>> The Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and Museum recently named four new directors to its board. Elected this fall at the nonprofit's annual meeting were Dean A. Eyre Jr., Michael A. "Buddy" McGuire and Richard Rodby. Nola Nahulu was appointed to complete the term of a retiring director.
>> The Hawaii Lupus Foundation Inc. has received an automation grant from the Atherton Family to purchase computers for the foundation office. The Atherton Family Foundation made the improvement possible for the foundation.
>> Bank of Hawaii has donated $10,000 to support Needy Hawaii Children. This donation is one of the largest corporate gifts that the Toys for Tots program has received this year, and it will contribute toward its goal of distributing 64,000 toys to needy children in Hawaii.
>> The 2001 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURF) has selected Aaron Justin Small, a University of Hawaii-Manoa student, as one of 12 recipients. He will receive a $2,500 stipend, a one-year student membership and reimbursement for travel expenses to the ASM General Meeting. This program is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology.
>> Child and Family Services announces the election of new officers and members of its Board of Directors. New board members are Carol Ai-May, John L. Arizumi, Robert Fujioka, Kathy Inouye, Neal Yokota and Hoyt Zia. Newly elected officers are Stephen MacMillan, chairman; Roger Ponder, first vice chairman; Alton Kuioka, second vice chairman; Lori Lum, secretary; and Joanie Shibuya, treasurer. Continuing directors are Creighton Arita, Robert Gagliano, William Hong, Arlene Nakamoto, Thomas Whittemore and Glenn Zander.
>> Aloha United Way (AUW), Ford Motor Co., International Center for Injury Prevention, the state Department of Health and Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition are working together to help get eligible children in Hawaii into lifesaving booster seats through Boost America!, a nationwide education program whose goal is to keep children safe when parents are driving. Five hundred seats will be given to needy families on Oahu and 110 on the neighbor islands along with hands-on training from certified child passenger technicians on how to properly use them. These families were identified through United Way partner agencies.
>> Alyson Kusatsu, a graduate student of Hawaii Pacific University in the Master of Science Nursing program, was named the first recipient of the Laura Jean Armstrong Scholarship and $1,000 tuition award. Established in February 2001, the fund supports Hawaii residents seeking a master's or doctoral degree in nursing or public health. After graduating from Moanalua High School, Kusatsu received her bachelor's degree in nursing at HPU in 1999 and began her nursing career at Kuakini Medical Center where she worked with elderly patients. She is now specializing in diabetes education and hopes to graduate in spring of 2002.
>> Tsung Tsin Association of 2002 has elected the following new officers: Eileen C. Chong, president; Helen Y. Ho, first vice president; Leonard J.K.H. Kam, second vice president; Lenora J.K. Leu, English secretary; Helen K. Liu, assistant English secretary; Lai Sin Chee, Chinese secretary; Peter W. Lee, assistant Chinese secretary; Benjamin P.S. Char, treasurer; Loy Fook Leu, assistant treasurer; Harry S.Y. Chong, auditor; Michael K.H. Wong, assistant auditor; and Alyce F. Ching, sergeant-at-arms.
>> The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has awarded Arthritis Foundation's Hawaii Branch Executive Director Susan J. Hughes with the Weinberg Award for outstanding achievement in nonprofit management. This monetary award is presented in honor of executive directors who have completed the Weinberg Fellows Program.
>> The employees of Prudential Locations recently presented the Hawaii Foodbank with two tons of rice and a $500 monetary donation. The donations were raised by employees during a two-week drive in early December.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at email@example.com.
Corrections and clarifications
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
Woman robbed at home in Salt Lake; man soughtPolice are looking for a man who robbed a woman in her home on Ala Leie Place in Salt Lake on Sunday morning.
The man allegedly entered the home while the 55-year-old woman was in her bedroom. With his hand under his shirt, the man told the woman he had a gun and wanted all her money, police said. The woman gave him money from her wallet.
The suspect asked the woman to open her safe, but she managed to break away and called police from a neighbor's house. The suspect fled before police arrived.
The woman was not injured. The man is described as in his 30s, 6 feet, 140 pounds, wearing a baseball cap, shirt and pants.
Cause unknown in fire that destroys Puna homeHILO >> Fire of unknown origin destroyed a small house in the Makuu Hawaiian Homes subdivision in Puna yesterday, fire officials said. The value of the 600-square-foot house was put at $10,000. The names of the owner and occupant were not immediately determined.
Man charged in robbery of 77-year-old womanBig Island police charged a man for allegedly robbing a 77-year-old woman over the weekend at the Waiakea Kai Plaza. Clinton C. Saragosa Sr. was charged with robbery, credit card fraud, assault and two counts of theft.
Police said Saragosa used the victim's credit card Saturday to purchase gas from a downtown service station after pushing her to the ground and taking her purse. Saragosa is being held in lieu of $11,500 bail.
Victim in Saturday's police shooting identifiedHilo police have identified a 39-year-old man shot by a Puna officer on Saturday as Santiago Vazquez. Police said Vazquez died of a gunshot wound to the chest during a dispute on Kupono Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna.
The officer who shot Vazquez has been placed on administrative leave, police said. Criminal Investigation and Internal Affairs detectives are investigating the case.
Suspect sought in man's beating Sunday in HiloBig Island police are looking for an 18-year-old male suspect who beat another man in South Hilo, leaving him in critical condition. Police found the victim, 29-year-old Franklin Matias, unconscious on the sidewalk fronting 375 Ohai St. Sunday at 3:40 p.m.
Matias was transported to the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Jeremie Evangelista at 961-3277. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Hilo CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 or in Kona at 329-8181.