POSTED: Saturday, May 09, 2009

Woman's sentence is overturned

A woman whose dog bit a 4-year-old girl at Kahala Beach can be sentenced to five days in prison or six months' probation but not both, according to a ruling by the state Intermediate Court of Appeals.

A Honolulu District judge found Mariko Bereday guilty of negligently failing to control her pet Rottweiler when the dog, Bobo, bit a 2-year-old boy at Kahala Beach on May 8, 2005, and when the dog bit a 4-year-old girl at the beach five days later.

Judge James Dannenberg sentenced Bereday to six months' probation for the May 8 attack and six months' probation plus five days in jail for the May 13 attack. He also ordered the destruction of 10-year-old Bobo.

The appellate court said the sentence for the May 13 incident can be for up to 30 days in jail or up to six months' probation but no combination of jail and probation.

The court upheld Bereday's convictions and did not rule on whether the order to destroy the dog was too harsh, because the animal had since died of natural causes.


New safe house for teens opens

The state's fourth Ke Kama Pono (”;Children of Promise”;) safe house for troubled teenagers opened yesterday on Oahu.

The first home opened in 2005 on the Big Island. Last month the second one opened on the Big Island and the third on Maui.

The Hawaii Office of Youth Services is establishing the safe houses with federal and state funding for nonviolent, troubled boys and girls ages 13 to 17.

The Big Island homes in Honokaa and Captain Cook accommodate eight girls and eight boys, respectively. The Maui home can house eight boys, and the Kalaeloa home on Oahu has space for 12 boys.

A brochure describing the program says the safe houses are to provide guidance to troubled teens in a highly supervised, nurturing setting as an alternative to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.


2 snakes seized after home search

State and federal officials seized two snakes from a home on Sierra Heights Drive yesterday afternoon after serving a search warrant, according to a news release from the state Department of Agriculture.

A 2-foot-long king snake and what is believed to be a 4-foot-long rock python were taken from the home. Both snakes are nonvenomous.

Confidential tips led to the search, the news release said. The people in the home were not arrested, but an investigation is ongoing.


Ed board aims for efficiency

A new investigative committee headed by school board member Janis Akuna will focus on ways to make the public school system more efficient in a time of budget cuts.

The committee's goal is to help the Department of Education make the best use of its resources to improve student performance, and position Hawaii to receive incentive grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“;The school board views this financial crisis as a unique opportunity to move education forward by taking a hard look at how we do business and ensuring moneys are being effectively spent to produce the most results in the classroom,”; board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said.

The Board of Education created the Strategic Business Transformation Ad Hoc Committee on Thursday and is expected to produce a preliminary report next month. Akuna has a professional background in finance and investment.




The government of Japan decorated Larry Shunji Isemoto and the Rev. Masatoshi Shamoto with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays awards.

Isemoto, former president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, was honored for his contribution to the development of the Japanese-American community and promotion of friendship between Japan and the U.S. Shamoto, a lecturer at the Department of Music at the University of Hawaii, promoted “;gagaku”; and Japanese culture overseas.



Four Big Island students are 2009 state winners of the 18th annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest, in which some 200,000 entries from first- through eighth-graders across the country were judged. Paauilo Elementary School students Shane Lau and Lois Taylor placed second and fourth respectively. St. Joseph Elementary students Liza Saludares and Sydney Romo won fifth and sixth respectively.