POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008

Isle electors prepare for Obama

Hawaii will join the rest of the country Monday to formally approve President-elect Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden as president and vice president through the Electoral College process.

The state's four electors are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. at the state Capitol, Room 309. Hawaii's electors are Joy Lewis, Dolly Strazar, Amy Agbayani and Frances Kagawa, said Chuck Freedman, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party.

Although the election outcome was determined last month, the results become official when the 538 members of the Electoral College vote in state capitals across the country.

Obama and Biden defeated Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by a 55-43 percent popular vote margin.

The number of electors for each state is equal to the number of seats it holds in Congress.

In Hawaii the party membership of the electors is the same as the party breakdown of the congressional delegation, so all four Hawaii electors are Democrats, Freedman said. Electors were chosen at the state Democratic Party convention.

The U.S. Constitution does not require electors to cast a ballot for any particular candidate, but state law requires they vote for their party's candidate, Freedman said.

The Hawaii Legislature passed a law this year that would award Hawaii's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, but that law would only take effect if states with a majority of the electoral votes approved similar legislation.


Man allegedly threatened judge

A man who allegedly threatened a state family court judge is in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post $500,000 bail.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Alan H.J. Yuen with two counts of harassment and 11 counts of first-degree terroristic threatening of District Family Court Judge Christine Kuriyama and Senior Probation Officer Cami Isara.

According to the indictment, Yuen, 48, threatened Kuriyama on Nov. 6, 12 and 17 and harassed her over the telephone on Nov. 6. He also threatened Isara several times in October and November, and harassed her over the telephone on Nov. 13, the indictment said.

Authorities arrested Yuen on the Big Island Wednesday to face unrelated charges in Nevada.

In the past four years, five people have sought restraining orders from the court against Yuen for harassment. One of them is the lawyer representing Yuen's ex-wife in their 2007 divorce. Yuen is appealing the judgment.


Drug-free nominees due today

Nominations are sought of individuals, groups or businesses that have made significant contributions to the community by promoting safe, healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

The 12th annual Ola Pono awards program is co-sponsored by the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention & Justice Assistance Division, Department of Education, Safe & Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program, and Aloha United Way.

Winners will receive $1,000 donated in their honor to a charitable organization of their choice.

Previous nominees included celebrities such as “;American Idol”; contestant Jordan Segundo and restaurateur Sam Choy; groups such as REAL: Hawaii Youth Movement Against Tobacco; kumu hula Michael Casupang; Tauanuu lolotai of the Hawaii Athletic League of Scholars; and Aiea Elementary School teacher John Honjo.

All are “;extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in the community in the area of safe, healthy and drug-fee lifestyles,”; the sponsors said.

Today is the deadline for nominations. Log onto Aloha United Way's Web site,, to download a nomination brochure. A hard copy can be obtained by mail by calling AUW's 211.


EPA settles with Bali Hai Villas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted a settlement with Bali Hai Villas Ltd. for failing to comply with the Clean Water Act.

The EPA says the settlement includes $63,000 in penalties.

According to the agency, the company failed to adequately implement storm water pollution controls at its condominium construction project in Princeville, Kauai.

In September 2007, EPA inspectors found the company had failed to install adequate control measures to prevent soil and sediment-filled storm water from running off the site.

Alexis Strauss, water division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region, says erosion and sedimentation cause severe pollution problems for coastal waters, coral reefs and marine ecosystems.