POSTED: Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mother sues over slain daughter

The mother of a 5-year-old girl who was beaten to death in 2005 is suing the federal government for failing to take action to prevent her daughter's death at the hands of the girl's father, a Schofield Barracks soldier.

Talia Emoni Williams died July 16, 2005, of blunt head trauma due to battered child syndrome.

The girl's stepmother, Delilah Williams, 24, has pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder in federal court and has agreed to testify against her husband.

Army Spc. Naeem Williams, 28, is also charged with first-degree felony murder and faces the death penalty if he is found guilty. His trial is scheduled for May.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday, Tarshia Williams, the girl's natural mother, said the military services in Hawaii have agreements with the state Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services Branch to report, notify, investigate, assess, treat and protect children of service members from abuse.

Active-duty military and federal government employees received reports of the abuse or were aware of the abuse but failed to notify the appropriate state agencies or to investigate the reports themselves, according to the lawsuit.

The mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the state last year.


Shark sighting shuts Maui beach

KIHEI, Maui » Some beach parks in South Maui were closed for several hours yesterday after a 10-foot tiger shark was sighted in the area.

The shark was observed feeding on a turtle, according to the county.

Kamaole Beach Parks 1, 2 and 3 were closed at 12:55 p.m. and reopened at 4:15 p.m., after state and county officers determined the waters were safe.


Fly population spikes on Big Isle

The state Department of Health reports a seasonal outbreak of flies in the North Kohala area of the Big Island.

The department's Vector Control Branch has begun a series of adult fly trapping programs to reduce the fly population. Officials say the program uses an environmentally, nonchemical strategy capable of removing thousands of flies per day.

An assessment conducted by Hawaii County officials indicates the pest is a type of flesh fly.

Surveys of dairy, ranch, residential and park areas found the flies are breeding on cow dung and cat feces.

Officials say growth in fly populations increases significantly during the warm and humid days and nights of late summer.


Drugs' effect on brain discussed

The impact of drug use on the brain's development will be discussed at a public forum from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa, Room 101.

Speaking will be Dan Alicata, Christine Cloak and George King, professors at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The three are involved in different studies concerning the effects of methamphetamine and marijuana on brain development.

The forum will discuss results from a study to measure brain structure and chemistry, water diffusion and organization and brain activity during cognitive tests.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, call 236-9120.


Native center gets OHA grant

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs recently awarded the Malama Learning Center a $500,000 two-year grant to go toward construction of the environmental and cultural learning center.

The $10 million learning center, to be located on Kapolei High School's campus, will include a performance hall, outdoor amphitheater, classrooms, meeting rooms for the community, a native plant nursery and native and cultural plant demonstration gardens. It will also have a living green roof to reduce heat for the structure.