Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Water declared safe despite contaminant

Traces of a gasoline additive were found in a Board of Water Supply well that was opened last month in Wahiawa.

A state Department of Health official said the finding does not pose a health threat, and the agency will continue to monitor the water.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply arranged laboratory tests when the well was put into service Nov. 13 to offset a pump failure at another Wahiawa pumping station.

The test found methyl tertiary butyl ether, which was used to reduce vehicle emissions, at a level of 1.2 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate the chemical, said Board of Water Supply spokeswoman Su Shin. The EPA found that even at concentrations of 20 to 40 parts per billion, there would be no negative health effects, Shin said.

California has set standards and shut down water sources where the contaminant was found in greater volume, said Stuart Yamada, supervising engineer of the Health Department's drinking-water branch. The substance has an offensive odor when it is present in higher levels, Yamada said.

The well, located at a county base yard, was completed in 2000 but was not used until the emergency arose. The city will investigate to determine the source of the chemical, Shin said.

UH grant will promote English in Vietnam

The University of Hawaii is getting $1.1 million to help build up English language studies in Vietnam, the University Foundation announced recently.

The grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies Inc. adds to a $420,000 grant from the same organization last year.

The university has several programs working with the Hanoi School of Business and the Hanoi University of Foreign studies.

The new money is to be used during the next two years for 12 teaching workshops in Hanoi, a workshop for Vietnamese academics in Hawaii, and development of American studies in Vietnam, the announcement said.

It also will support resident researchers and teachers in Hanoi.

Acting UH President David McClain said the grant would help the school strengthen its second-language studies programs and build on its academic partnerships in Vietnam.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Collisions follow alleged hit-and-run that injures 2

A 21-year-old Honolulu man was injured after he rear-ended a van with his car yesterday morning and allegedly fled the scene on Moanalua Freeway.

The accident also led to two other crashes.

Police said the driver of the 2001 two-door silver Acura rear-ended a white 1977 Ford van driven by a 50-year-old Honolulu man just west of the Red Hill offramp westbound at 5:42 a.m.

The Acura driver fled but his car stalled nearby, police said. He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition but was later upgraded to serious, stable condition, police said.

The van driver was taken to Queen's in stable condition and later released.

Police said alcohol on the part of the Acura driver could have been a factor in the accident.

A second vehicle rear-ended the Acura, and another vehicle rear-ended the van.

Man with note robs Makiki First Hawaiian

Police are looking for a man in his 40s who robbed the Makiki branch of First Hawaiian Bank Saturday morning.

Police said the man went up to a teller and showed her a note demanding cash, police said.

The suspect kept his left hand in his jacket pocket, indicating he was armed, police said. No gun was displayed, however.

The robbery happened at 11:46 a.m. Saturday at 1111 S. Beretania St.

The suspect is described as having a slim, lanky build, with blond shoulder-length hair, a mustache with two-day beard growth, wearing sunglasses, a tan jacket, khaki pants and white running shoes.

The robbery detail is investigating the case.

Injured hiker airlifted off Maunawili Trail

Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued a hiker who slipped and fell about 100 feet off the Maunawili Trail yesterday afternoon.

Fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said the man, who is in his 20s, was hiking with two friends when he fell at about 1 p.m., but the friends did not call for help until 4 p.m.

The men were without a cell phone and had to hike out on the Palolo side of the ridge to call, Tejada said.

They gave an accurate location, allowing fire rescue workers to pinpoint him quickly on the Maunawili side of the mountain, Tejada said.

A Windward fire rescue crew located the hiker, and he was airlifted out and taken by ambulance in good condition to Castle Medical Center.

Surfers track down burglar with wallet

A 23-year-old Haleiwa man and his roommate tracked down a woman who allegedly stole two surfboards and a wallet from their home early yesterday morning.

Police said the man was awakened by an unknown woman searching his living room. The man told her to leave the house. She did, taking two surfboards with her.

The man found the suspect and retrieved the surfboards, police said.

He then returned home and woke his roommate, who found his wallet missing.

The two men tracked down the woman with the help of police, who arrested the 23-year-old for first-degree burglary.

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