Today in West Hawaii history | April 29


April 29, 1984: West Hawaii Today delivers its first Sunday edition to readers. West Hawaii Today began publishing weekly in July 1968. With a Sunday edition, West Hawaii Today now provides readers with local news six days a week.

Reported cases of child abuse and neglect have mushroomed dramatically in West Hawaii and a team of 12 people from seven professions is working closely with state child protection officials to tackle the problem. Child abuse and neglect cases here skyrocketed 375 percent from last year. Of 153 Kona cases reported to Child Protection Services in 1983, 75 were confirmed as child abuse or neglect. Those cases involved the deaths of two children and five involved sexual abuse.

April 29, 1994: After several revisions, plans for Kealakehe High School appear to be complete. Deputy School Superintendent Pat Bergin presented the plans for the school to break ground in sometime during summer or fall 1994 and be open to students in September 1997. Because rare plants were discovered on the original site last year, the school was moved to an adjacent 57-acre lot that was roughly the same size, but a different shape, which required some of the designs to be redrawn.

Negotiating teams for three striking public employee bargaining units have reached tentative contract agreements with the state and counties. The breakthrough in the strike that began April 18 was announced late April 28 and members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association Units 3, 4 and 10 will vote today.

April 29, 2004: Hawaii County receives a bit of good news about a problem that continues to spiral down the toilet. The federal government announces a grant to help defray the cost of phasing out large capacity cesspools serving county facilities. However, the scope of the problem also keeps growing as the April 2005 deadline approaches and more cesspools are found on private and state land. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $10.2 million to the state to provide low-cost loans for wastewater treatment and infrastructure upgrades in Hawaii and Kauai counties.

The Hawaii Police Department suspends its Traffic Enforcement Unit sergeant — a longtime department veteran — for allegedly tampering with evidence related to the investigation of Kona Officer Bryan Ellis, police and county officials said. Ellis, while on duty in his sports utility vehicle struck and killed 33-year-old pedestrian Gregory Pluta Jr. shortly before 2 a.m. Feb. 15 on Alii Drive. Officials told West Hawaii Today that the police department has launched a criminal and administrative investigation into TEU Sgt. Leroy Victorino’s behavior, but declined to give specific details. Victorino, as TEU sergeant., was one of the officers in charge of the initial investigation involving Ellis and Pluta.

After finishing third place in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, the Kealakehe High School All-Star cheerleading team comes away with a national title during the American Showcase Championships held in Anaheim, Calif.