Police, Fire, Courts

Star-Bulletin staff and wire


>> Traci Fujita Villarosa has been appointed first deputy corporation counsel, and Jane E. Lovell, chief of litigation, for the County of Maui. Fujita Villarosa is a seven-year veteran of the county's Department of the Corporation Counsel. Lovell, a former partner of a San Francisco law firm, has experience in civil litigation, trials and appeals in state and federal courts.

>> Alexander Kam, a sixth-grader at St. Theresa's School in Kalihi, is the Hawaii state champion of the Second Annual Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge.

He will represent Hawaii at the national championship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., at the end of the month and compete for the $25,000 first-prize scholarship.

Twenty-two students from around the state competed in the contest, held Feb. 27 in the Hawaii Theatre and moderated by Star-Bulletin columnist Charles Memminger.

According to Hank Taufaasau, state coordinator of the Reader's Digest magazine outreach program, Kam won in a tiebreaker round against Melisa McDonald, a seventh-grader from Our Savior Lutheran School in Aiea.

Rebecca Ailes, a fourth-grader from Pearl Harbor Elementary School, the youngest competitor and only contestant to earn a perfect score in the preliminary round, tied for third place with two others. They are Sara Dizon, a sixth-grader from Our Savior Lutheran School, and Thomas Mersburgh, a sixth-grander from Kealakehe Intermediate on the Big Island.

Al Roker, of NBC's "Today Show," will serve as the official quiz master at the national event.

>> Bishop Museum has received grants of $3,000 from the Boeing Co. for the Holoholo Science Program; $10,000 from the Hawaii Community Foundation's Ellen M. Koenig Memorial Fund to purchase a cargo van for the Holoholo program; $4,000 from the Hawaii Community Foundation's "Mo Bettah Together Program" to help with the creation and installation of a plaque on Molokai; $10,000 from the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation for sleepover programs; and $50,000 from the William R. Hearst Foundation in support of science education programs.

>> Students, faculty and friends of Saint Louis School have raised more than $11,000 in the Second Annual Blessed Chaminade Walk-a-thon. The money will be donated to the Marianist Miracle Project, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Hawaii and to tuition assistance.

"Taking Notice" runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Listings also appear online at

State library system receives $1.04 million

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded $1.04 million to the Hawaii State Public Library System.

The grant is part of $157.6 million that the independent federal agency will distribute to library systems in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

The grants are awarded under the Library Services and Technology Act and are made to each state according to a population-based formula, the agency said.

Star-Bulletin writer Rob Perez to be lauded

The Honolulu Community-Media Council will present its 2004 Fletcher Knebel Award for Journalism Excellence tomorrow to Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Rob Perez for his "Raising Cane" column on topics related to ethics, public accountability and open government.

As part of Freedom of Information Day, the council awards the Fletcher Knebel Award for Journalism Excellence, named after journalist and author Fletcher Knebel, who lived in Hawaii before his death in 1993.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim will also talk on "Freedom of Information and Open Government" at the annual Freedom of Information Day celebration by the Honolulu Community-Media Council and the East-West Center tomorrow at the East-West Center IMIN Conference Center.

Freedom of Information Day is celebrated nationally on the anniversary of President James Madison's birthday. Madison was the chief author of the Bill of Rights.

Registration at the IMIN Center, Garden Level, 1601 East-West Road, begins at 11:30 a.m. Lunch begins at noon. Kim will speak at 12:30 p.m. University parking is available for $3. Cost is $20 for Media Council members and $25 for nonmembers.

For more information, call Holly Green by 10 a.m. tomorrow at 545-1075.

Box jellyfish invasion closes Hanauma Bay

City lifeguards closed Hanauma Bay yesterday because of an influx of box jellyfish.

The Ocean Safety Division also warned the public to stay out of the water at beaches along southern shores.

The jellyfish were spotted earlier than expected Sunday at Ala Moana Beach and were seen at Waikiki beaches yesterday morning, said Rob Miller, Ocean Safety dispatcher.

"Not a good day to go swimming, except in a pool," Miller said.

Yesterday was expected to be the peak for the almost monthly jellyfish invasion. The influx is expected to continue today but end by tomorrow.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Victim struck by 2 cars on Maui is identified

WAILUKU >> The pedestrian who was killed Sunday after being struck by two vehicles in Upcountry Maui has been identified as 66-year-old Sete Mounga, of Makawao.

Mounga was struck by a station wagon at Makani Road and Haleakala Highway about 7:30 p.m., police Sgt. Stacey Yamashita said yesterday. A sport utility vehicle struck Mounga as he lay on the roadway, Yamashita said. He died at the scene.

Police officials are investigating if Mounga was in a crosswalk and if drugs, alcohol or speeding was involved in the incident.

A 64-year-old Kihei woman was driving the station wagon, and a 36-year-old Waihee woman was driving the SUV, police said.

The death is Maui's fourth traffic fatality this year, compared with three for the same period last year.

Teen killed in solo Big Isle crash is ID'd

Big Island police have identified the 17-year-old boy who died in a Puna car crash early Sunday morning as Kevin Torngren, of Hilo.

Police said Torngren was traveling west toward Pahoa Village along Pahoa-Kapoho Road when his vehicle failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the road and struck a tree. He was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 6:48 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers are continuing an investigation into the crash and have ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with information about the case or who witnessed the crash is asked to call Officer Norbert Serrao, of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, at 961-2332 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Sunday's death was the eighth traffic fatality on the Big Island this year, compared with two at the same time last year.


Victim wakes to find her car being stolen

Police arrested a 34-year-old Pearl City man Sunday after he allegedly stole a vehicle while the car's owner was sleeping in the back seat.

A Pearl City woman, 35, told police she had been sleeping in the back seat of her parked vehicle about 11:15 a.m. when the movement of the vehicle woke her up.

Police said the woman confronted the suspect driving the vehicle, who then stopped and walked away. Police found the suspect walking in the area and arrested him on suspicion of auto theft.


Gesser pleads innocent in drunken driving case

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jason Gesser entered a plea of not guilty yesterday in Honolulu District Court to a charge of driving while intoxicated.

His attorney, Patrick McPherson, waived Gesser's presence yesterday and entered the plea on his behalf.

Gesser, of Honolulu, allegedly ran a red light and failed a sobriety test before being arrested by Honolulu police Feb. 15. He was later released after posting $500 bail.

Gesser, a former Saint Louis School quarterback, was signed by the Titans as a rookie free agent last April.

Family seeks damages in truck driver's death

The family of a 70-year-old truck driver, crushed to death by concrete piles that rolled off a truck, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the forklift operator who was unloading them and the company for which he worked.

Nobuo Tani, a driver for Ed Yamashiro Inc., was killed Sept. 12 when two 3,600-pound piles rolled onto him during unloading at the waterfront at Hickam Air Force Base, said his family's attorney, Wayne Kekina.

Tani was delivering a load of piles and standing outside his truck and untying straps when the piles crushed him, Kekina said.

The suit alleges forklift operator George Leota was negligent when he unloaded the piles from the trailer. The suit also alleges his employer, Healy Tibbits Builders Inc., was negligent and that their negligence caused Tani's fatal injuries.

Kekina said Tani's death is especially difficult for his wife and six great-grandchildren, ranging from age 6 to age 14, who were dependent on him for financial support.


Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --