Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Chanting and blowing conch shells, Stryker demonstrators walked down Mililani Street in front of Iolani Palace on their way to the Prince Jonah Kuhio Federal Building yesterday.

Ezra to issue opinion on Stryker lawsuit

Chief U.S. District Judge David Ezra said yesterday he would issue a written opinion in a "few weeks" on a request by three native Hawaiian groups that want to stop the Army from converting a Schofield Barracks unit to a new Stryker brigade.

The request for a summary judgment was made by Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represents Ilioulaokalani Coalition, Na Imi Pono and Kipuka.

Yesterday was the latest in a series of legal challenges raised by Henkin, who lost a bid before Ezra in November for a preliminary injunction halting the Army from further transforming the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade until the Earthjustice case is heard.

Henkin has claimed that the Army "blatantly violated" the environmental laws by refusing to consider locations outside Hawaii. Earthjustice filed suit against the Army in U.S. District Court on Aug. 17, challenging its plans until a more comprehensive environmental assessment is conducted.

Barry Weiner, Justice Department attorney, said in court yesterday that despite Henkin's claims, the Army made the necessary public disclosures and followed all the proper procedures.

Isle man charged with alleged child porn

The U.S. Attorney's Office charged a Hawaii man yesterday with violating child pornography laws.

On April 20, James C. Richardson allegedly possessed computer equipment that contained pictures of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to court papers filed in federal court yesterday.

Richardson allegedly sent the pictures to recipients on the mainland and in other countries, the court document said.

Women's legal group accepts grant requests

The Hawaii Women's Legal Foundation is accepting applications for grant requests from organizations that help improve the legal status and welfare of women and children in the islands.

The deadline for applications is March 14.

The foundation has provided thousands of dollars in grants to Child and Family Service, the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline and other organizations.

For more information or an application, contact Bernice Littman, chairwoman of the foundation's grant distribution committee, by phone at 521-3219 or by e-mail at blittman@cades.com.

Ethics Committee deadline pushed back

The deadline to submit applications for an anticipated vacancy on the state Ethics Commission has been extended by a month to March 18, officials said.

Commission member Ronald Yoshida's term is set to expire on June 30.

Applicants for the position must be U.S. citizens, residents of Hawaii and may not hold public office.

The Ethics Commission regulates the ethics of all legislators, registered lobbyists and most state employees. The commission is responsible for investigating claims and providing advisory opinions.

Those who are interested should submit an application along with a resume and three letters or recommendation. Form applications are available for pick-up or online at www.courts.state.hi.us.

For more information, call the Judicial Council at 539-4702.



Children at the Weinberg Village Waimanalo, a transitional housing complex, have fun during last week's grand opening of a playground that was built in one day -- Jan. 20 -- by hundreds of volunteers and The Home Depot. Climbing on the bright yellow equipment are Levin Kaio, left, Lono Ebasco-Pedro, Kawika Charles, Jewels Kaipo and Rosemary Saito.

Police, Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff


Police seek suspect in rape and robbery

Police were looking for a man suspected of raping a woman in Waianae on Monday.

Police said that about 10 a.m., the victim, 32, was confronted by the suspect, who forced her to drive him somewhere in the Waianae area. Police did not provide other details.

Once at the location, the suspect took the victim's property and then sexually assaulted her, police said.

Police said the suspect then fled on foot and the victim drove away and reported the incident to police. The suspect was described only as being in his 40s or 50s.


Police officer is bitten on arm during arrest

A 20-year-old trespassing suspect allegedly bit a police officer who went to arrest him at his Keoki Place home in Kuliouou on Monday.

The suspect bit the officer on the arm as he was being arrested for investigation of first-degree trespassing at an East Oahu bank about 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Police then arrested the suspect for investigation of assaulting a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.


Building fire causes $20,000 in damage

Fire caused about $20,000 damage to a small structure in a remote part of the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Mountain View on the Big Island last night.

Fire officials said a nearby resident who lives near Road 1 and Road G reported hearing a explosion about 6:12 p.m. Firefighters found the 20-by-20-foot structure fully engulfed in flames.

No one was hurt. The cause was under investigation.

Puna man charged in robbery and assault

Big Island police charged a 19-year-old Puna man yesterday in an alleged assault and robbery of some university and high school students Sunday on Coconut Island in Hilo Bay.

Police charged Curtis Nihipali with second-degree robbery and illegal possession of a deadly weapon.

He was carrying a pair of brass knuckles at the time of his arrest, police said.

He is being held in lieu of $2,100 bail.

Police had also arrested an 18-year-old Puna man and a 15-year-old boy in the case Sunday, but released them pending further investigation.

A group of eight male suspects allegedly assaulted the students, three male University of Hawaii-Hilo students and two male high school students, on the island.

The suspects demanded the students' money and car keys, the victims told police.

The assault took place about 11:30 p.m.

Police caught three suspects about 11:55 p.m.

Four victims were taken to the Hilo Medical Center for treatment of their injuries and released. A fifth victim received minor injuries and did not require medical attention.

Detectives know the identity of several of the other assailants who fled before police arrived.

Anyone with information concerning the identities of the suspects is asked to call Detective Tom Poy at 961-2383 or the nonemergency police number at 935-3311.

Anonymous calls may be made to CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

E-mail to City Desk


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