Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Nuuanu hiker died of broken neck, autopsy finds

George Morishima died of a broken neck from an apparent fall while hiking in Nuuanu, said Kanthi von Gunthner, Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner.

Von Gunthner, who released preliminary autopsy findings this morning, said Morishima apparently died Thursday, five days after he was reported missing.

The 78-year-old Aiea man was reported missing Sunday after he failed to return home from picking bamboo, fern and tree fungus for New Year's celebrations. He was the subject of a six-day search that involved family members, friends, state and fire personnel, volunteer hikers and hunters.

His body was found in a dry stream bed about 11 a.m. Saturday by a volunteer.

Morishima died 36 to 40 hours before his body was found, Von Gunthner said.

"He probably slipped and fell," and died instantly from a broken neck, von Gunthner said.

She said Morishima suffered injuries to his cervical spine or the back of his neck, which could have been caused by impact or by Morishima twisting his neck to break his fall.

Funds available for food, shelter programs

Aloha United Way is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and will assist in distributing $354,286 in Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds on Oahu.

The federal program charges local boards with determining how awarded funds will be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local groups.

Qualifying public or private voluntary organizations on Oahu that wish to apply should contact the Community Building Division of Aloha United Way, 200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Suite 700, Honolulu, HI 96817; or call 543-2206. The deadline to apply is Jan. 16.

Big waves off islands are on their way down

High surf levels throughout Hawaii that may have contributed to a man's drowning off the Big Island on Sunday are expected to subside this week, officials said yesterday.

The National Weather Service downgraded its high-surf warning to an advisory on the northwest shores of Oahu, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai, while a high-surf warning for the northwest-facing shores of Maui and the Big Island continued yesterday.

But surf levels on the Big Island had already dropped to 8 to 10 feet yesterday, and the Weather Service projected continued decreases today.

A 50-year-old man apparently drowned Sunday at Hookena in South Kona when he was swept out to sea by a strong current generated by large waves, fire officials said.

Similar conditions were not expected this week.

Surf heights off the islands downgraded to advisory levels were expected to be 15 to 20 feet yesterday, decreasing further today. On Maui the Weather Service expected surf heights of 20 to 25 feet to drop to 12 to 18 feet today.

Jeff Powell, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said the recent increase in surf was a result of a storm that passed over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii a few days ago.



La Pietra senior Claire Haranda was congratulated by Jeff Bloom, left, CEO of Computer Training Academy, and Mike Travis, La Pietra technology coordinator, for her first-place award in the annual HiTech Quest competition.

La Pietra senior wins
online art project contest

Claire Haranda, a senior at La Pietra, has won first place and a $1,000 scholarship for her online art project in the Multimedia/Internet Division of HiTech Quest.

Haranda will be the first senior at La Pietra to graduate with the new "Emphasis in Technology" diploma this spring. The all-girls school created the diploma program to encourage its students to consider careers in technology.

Haranda's project, honored last month, was an online portfolio of her artwork. She started it in her Advanced Web Programming and Design class.

The annual HiTech Quest is sponsored by Bank of Hawaii, Oceanic Time Warner Cable of Hawaii, Microsoft and Computer Training Academy. For more information about HiTech Quest, visit

Pacific Forum Center's Cossa honored by HPU

Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies, will be awarded the Fellow of the Pacific Award at Hawaii Pacific University's winter commencement exercises tomorrow.

Cossa will also deliver the keynote address. Ceremonies are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Waikiki Shell.

The award is HPU's highest accolade, which will be given to Cossa for his contributions and service to international education.

Cossa is a political/military affairs and national security specialist with more than 30 years of experience in U.S. security policy in the Asia-Pacific and Near-East-South regions. He is a board member of the Council on U.S.-Korean Security Studies and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (New York). He also served on the Asia Foundation's Task Force on America's Role in Asia.

Cossa also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1993, achieving the rank of colonel.

HPD named outstanding by isle Special Olympics

Special Olympics Hawaii named the Hawaii Police Department as the Outstanding Organization of the Year at a recent banquet honoring individuals and groups for their contributions to year-round athletic training and competition.

Police officers volunteered as coaches and fund-raisers for "Cop on Top" in Waikiki and "Tip a Cop" at Ward Centre. Every year, they carry the Flame of Hope in the islands in the Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run, which has raised more than $1 million in 16 years.

Other award presentations:

>> Hilo and Waiakea High School Key Clubs, East Hawaii, Outstanding School.
>> Sean "Peaman" Pagett, West Hawaii, Outstanding Writer.
>> Dina Pascua, East Hawaii, and Debbie Collector, West Hawaii, tied, Outstanding Volunteers.
>> Randy Fujimori, Honolulu, Photographer of the Year.
>> Nyman Mederios, West Hawaii, Broadcaster of the Year.
>> Neal Labang, Maui, Outstanding Coach.
>> The Pidcock Family, Maui, Family of the Year.
>> Penina Leo, Leeward Oahu, Outstanding Female Athlete for 2002, Athlete Leadership Council, fastest speedskater.
>> Chris Leone, Maui, Outstanding Male Athlete for 2002.
>> Sisters Dale and Geri Corpus, West Hawaii, Special Olympics Hall of Fame for three decades of competition.

"Taking Notice" runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Listings also appear online at Please send items to City Desk, Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813.


Corrections and clarifications

>> A story on Page C1 Saturday misspelled the last names of Nan Tome and Lindsey Tome as Some.

>> A story on Page C1 Dec. 31 incorrectly stated that Tesoro Petroleum Corp. is selling 30 gas stations to joint venture Skyline-FRI 7 TSO LP, of which it is a partner. In fact, Tesoro does not have ownership interest in the venture.

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

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers


Pearl City woman hurt critically in car crash

A 25-year-old Pearl City woman was in critical condition at Queen's Medical Center this morning after crashing her car into a rock wall shortly before 1 a.m.

Police said she was traveling north on Waimano Home Road, veered off the road and crashed into a rock wall at Hoomoana Street. The woman, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car.

Police said alcohol and speed appear to be factors in the crash.


Motor vehicle accident injures bicycle rider

A 32-year-old Kailua man remained in critical condition at Queen's Medical Center this morning after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle at Castle Junction last night.

Police said the man was riding toward Kailua on Kamehameha Highway near the Pali Golf Course about 7:30 p.m. when he was injured.

Police said the bicycle did not have lights or reflectors.


Police seek help finding bank robbery suspect


CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department want the public's assistance in identifying the man who robbed the Kapiolani-Kaheka branch of American Savings Bank at 3:40 p.m. Friday.

Police said the robber went into the bank at 1600 Kapiolani Blvd. and passed a demand note stating he was armed. After the holdup, he ran in the mauka direction on Kaheka Street through the Daie parking lot.

The robber was described as in his 20s, 5-feet-9, 150 to 160 pounds, with tan complexion and short dark hair.

Anyone with information may call robbery Detective Taro Nakamura at 529-3382. Anonymous calls may be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cellular phone.

Burglar's backpack leads to his arrest

Police said they have charged a 39-year-old man with two burglaries after they recovered his backpack at the scene of a break-in.

Davin Caluyo, with no local address, was charged with burglary yesterday. Bail was set at $50,000. Police said Caluyo was arrested after an Elsie Street resident returned home and surprised a burglar. The burglar fled but left his backpack, which offered clues to his identity.

Caluyo was charged with burglary of the Elsie Street home as well as another home on Algaroba Street.


Rainbow Falls jumper injures his tailbone

A Minnesota man fractured his tailbone this weekend after jumping off Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Big Island police said yesterday.

Police said Ryan Meeker, 23, of Winona, Minn., apparently landed on rocks and fractured his coccyx. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center and later flown to Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, where he was reported in stable condition.


Piles of Christmas trees intentionally set on fire

Honolulu firefighters put out two intentionally set fires this weekend at the Mililani Tech Center.

Fire officials said firefighters were called to the center on two occasions Sunday night to put out fires in piles of Christmas trees. Fire spokesman Capt. Richard Soo said people should not have even dropped their trees off there in the first place, since the center was not supposed to be accepting trees until Saturday.

"It's an inviting nuisance," said Soo. "To some people it looks like a bonfire ready to go."

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