Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Painter gets $1.5M after blowing whistle

A federal court jury awarded a city painter $1.5 million yesterday because the city retaliated against him after he reported various public health concerns and violations of law.

Whistle-blower Howard Tom Sun, who works for the Department of Enterprise Services at Blaisdell Center, alleged the city retaliation against him and violated his First Amendment rights.

Tom Sun reported such matters as lead exposures; hazardous chemical exposures and unlawful disposals; unlawful storage; lack of safety equipment and training; and Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division violations.

"I'm proud that Mr. Tom Sun had the courage to bring his concerns about the city to light," his attorney Venetia Carpenter-Asui said. "Hopefully, now the city will put matters of public concerns and employee safety first."

Chemicals found in well pose no risk

WAILUKU » Chemicals used in pineapple cultivation and also in cleaning fluids were found in trace amounts in the Maunaolu-Smith Well in Kula in Upcountry Maui, but they pose no health hazard, state Deputy Health Director Laurence Lau said yesterday.

Lau said the well, serving about 60 people, is treated with granular-activated carbon before being sent to consumers and meets state and federal standards.

State health officials said although the concentrations of ethylene dibromide and 1,2,3-trichloropropane at the wellhead were above the maximum contaminant level, the drinking water after treatment did not contain any detectable levels of the chemicals.

Officials said the chemicals were found during a routine sampling of drinking water across the state.

Man posing as official asks to verify account

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is warning residents that a man posing as an investigator for the Office of Consumer Protection is likely involved in identity theft.

The department issued a warning that a man telephoned an Oahu resident Tuesday identifying himself as Dawson Brown of the Honolulu Consumer Protection Office.

"Mr. Brown" told the consumer that Canadian telemarketers could access his checking account and withdraw funds without his approval. "Mr. Brown" then read the consumer an account number and asked him to verify it, which he did, the department said.

The consumer verified his checking account number, and the caller told him to contact a specific company (Privacy Management Group) for more information regarding this possible scam. When the consumer called the number given, it was no longer in service.

The Office of Consumer Protection warns consumers "not to provide financial information to anyone unless you know the person with whom you are dealing."

For more information, go to www.idtheft.hawaii.gov or call 587-3222.

Training could be loud for Windward residents

Kailua and Kaneohe residents might hear explosions this weekend while Marines conduct training with demolitions and mortars.

The training will be conducted at Marine Corps Base Hawaii today from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Base officials said the explosions might be heard in surrounding communities.


» Project Visitation, a program of Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, received a $10,000 grant from the Weinberg Foundation after completing a community service project with the Aloha Medical Mission. Project Visitation serves foster children, while Aloha Medical Mission provides free health care to disadvantaged people in Hawaii and abroad.

» The Kaaawa No Drugs Coalition, assisted by the Kahaluu Lions Club, has been awarded a $10,000 Weinberg Grant for drug education and prevention in the community. The first project will involve Kaaawa, Waiahole and Kahaluu elementary schools in joint activities to prevent drug abuse.

» Hina Mauka, a drug and alcohol treatment agency, has received a container full of office furniture from Tesoro Hawaii.

» The Outdoor Circle has received more than $10,000 from the trust of M. Adeline Schutz to support the preservation, protection and enhancement of Hawaii's environment.

» Manawale'a Riding Center has been awarded $16,953 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to enable the center to plan and design a bathhouse for its disabled clients.

» The Magic of Polynesia, a musical production at the Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel, donated proceeds from its premiere afternoon matinee performance to the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

A rubber fuel tank, which looked like a large tan air mattress, washed up yesterday near Sandy Beach. Diesel fuel was detected by two Coast Guardsmen as the contents were examined. It was pulled further up toward the road so the high tide would not take it out to sea again.

Oily material retrieved off Sandy Beach

A fire hazardous-materials team retrieved a large collapsible rubber bladder from waters off Sandy Beach yesterday morning.

The Fire Department received a call about 10:15 a.m. The task required several firefighters to bring the object out of the shore break onto shore, said fire Capt. Emmit Kane.

The Coast Guard removed the object, measuring 4 feet by 12 feet, which contained an oily substance believed to be a mixture of diesel fuel and sea water.

The Coast Guard contracted a private company to do the cleanup.

Police file charges in shooting incident

A 31-year-old Hilo man who allegedly fired a shot into the ceiling of a Hilo home was charged yesterday with attempted murder and a variety of other offenses.

Police said Anthony Carvalho allegedly fired a rifle inside a Hilo home Wednesday night and pointed it at one of the residents. No one was injured.

The Police Department's Ice Task Force arrested Carvalho on Thursday after they found him at a Wainaku home where they were serving a federal grand jury indictment on a resident for an unrelated case.

Detectives charged Carvalho with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree burglary, four counts of violation of a court order, three counts of first-degree reckless endangering, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, ownership of a prohibited firearm and several other firearm offenses.

Carvalho is being held in the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Man apparently hit in Hilo dies of injuries

A 22-year-old Hilo man died yesterday afternoon of injuries sustained after he was apparently struck by a pickup truck Thursday evening in Hilo.

Police identified the victim as Dale K. Tim Sing.

A Hilo man called police yesterday and said his wife was driving a 1997 Ford pickup truck about 9:30 p.m. the previous night. She was heading east on East Kahaopea Street between Railroad Avenue and Auwae Road when she thought she hit something on the road.

Tim Sing's body was found about 9:10 a.m. yesterday on the Puna side of Kahaopea Street.

He was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 12:50 p.m.

Neither alcohol nor speed is believed to be a factor in the accident.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide and failure to render aid investigation and ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call officer Reed Mahuna at 961-2332.

The death was the 20th traffic fatality on the Big Island so far this year, compared with 25 at the same time last year.

Man is found sleeping inside stolen vehicle

Police arrested a 27-year-old man after he was found Wednesday sleeping in a stolen vehicle near Makua Beach.

Police said an officer noticed a green Isuzu parked partway in some bushes. When the officer ran a check of the license plate, he learned that the vehicle had been stolen, police said.

The car was parked but the engine was still running, police said. The officer noticed two people sleeping inside the vehicle and arrested the driver for investigation of auto theft.

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