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In Brief | Big Island & State | 1-30-14

January 29, 2014 - 9:13pm

Lane closure for Laaloa extension project

There will be a partial lane closure Feb. 8 on Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona, according to Hawaii Electric Light Co.

One lane will be closed to traffic between Sunset and Akoni drives from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to relocate utility poles for the county’s Laaloa Avenue extension project to improve traffic circulation and public safety.

Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to use Alii Drive via Lako Street and King Kamehameha III Road.

For more information, call 969-6666.

Man in police custody following Hilo bank robbery

Hawaii Island police are investigating a bank robbery Wednesday afternoon in Hilo.

At 1:42 p.m., South Hilo patrol officers responded to a report of a robbery at Central Pacific Bank on Kilauea Avenue, where a man reportedly produced a note and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

Police later located and arrested the suspect, a 61-year-old man with no permanent address. West Hawaii Today is not identifying the man because he had not been charged with a crime as of press time Wednesday. He remains held at the Hilo police cellblock pending further investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the incident should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Flash flood watch remains in effect

A flash flood watch has been extended for Hawaii Island until noon today, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Forecasters said deep moisture and an upper-level low over the southeast portion of the state will continue to bring the threat of flooding rains to the island.

Conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. It does not have to be raining heavily in an area for flash flooding to occur there. Heavy rain on nearby slopes may produce flooding in streams, canyons and other low-lying areas.

Neiman Marcus data breach may impact thousands in Hawaii

At least 9,600 shoppers in Hawaii may have been affected by a months-long data breach at Neiman Marus stores, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said.

The department’s Office of Consumer Protection was notified by Neiman Marcus that the 9,600 shoppers may have been affected by a data breach that spanned from July 16 to Oct. 30 and affected 1.1 million transactions. The retailer said hackers illegally obtained credit and debit card information from purchases made at company stores between those dates.

Businesses are required by Hawaii law to notify customers of any security breach involving personal information following discovery of the breach, according to the office. Hawaii law also requires businesses to notify the office about the breach without unreasonable delay and submit information on the timing, distribution and content of the notices sent by the business to potentially affected consumers.

The breach occurred in the retailer’s point-of-sale system when the payment cards were swiped, according to the office. The potentially compromised personal information included name and other Track One payment card data.

At this time, according to the office, Neiman Marcus said it did not include other personal information such as Social Security numbers or dates of birth. Neiman Marcus does not use PIN pads in their stores. The company believes online purchases were not affected.

The office urges Hawaii residents to take precautions if they believe they may be affected by the data breach.

Neiman Marcus advises shoppers to check their payment card statements for any suspicious transactions, and to call their card issuer to report it, if needed. If shoppers notice any suspicious activity on their Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman cards, they are advised to contact their local store or call the Neiman Marcus credit division at 800-685-6695.

Neiman Marcus will provide free credit monitoring services to any shopper who used a payment card at a Neiman Marcus store or shopped online between January 2013 and January 2014. Sign up instructions for this free service are available at The deadline to sign up is June 15.

Kauai dairy farm aims to be operational next year

WAIPOULI, Kauai — Owners and operators of a planned dairy farm on Kauai say they hope to be producing milk for customers next year if all goes well.

Ulupono Initiative Director of Communications Amy Hennessey told the Kauai Economic Development Board on Tuesday that Hawaii Dairy Farms hopes to break ground in the spring if it receives the required building permits.

The Garden Island reported Hawaii Dairy Farms will be situated on more than 580 acres in Mahaulepu near Koloa.

Seventy percent of the dairy cows’ diet will be grass and 30 percent will be grain.

Ulupono Initiative is the project’s sole investor. Ulupono is funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. It aims to increase Hawaii’s local food production and clean energy and reduce the state’s waste.

Haleakala National Park plan moves forward

WAILUKU, Maui — Haleakala National Park is implementing a plan to cut back on the number of commercial visitors.

The Maui News reported the goal is to ensure preservation of the resources at the park — Maui’s most popular attraction — and ensure high-quality experiences in the next 10 to 15 years.

Under the plan, commercial bicycle tours will continue to be prohibited. Other offerings, including horseback riding and astronomy tours, will be limited.

The National Park Service last month made a finding of no significant impact for the plan.

Officials say competitive processes for service providers will be developed over the next year.

Maui County economic development coordinator Teena Rasmussen said her office has not yet reviewed the plan.

Shipwreck debris removed from Pacific refuges

HONOLULU — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it’s removed nearly 1 million pounds of decades-old shipwreck debris from two remote national wildlife refuges in the Pacific.

The agency said Wednesday the removal is the first phase of coral reef restoration work at Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef National Wildlife Refuges.

The iron in the wrecked ships was fueling the growth of invasive organisms that were smothering once-healthy, diverse coral.

Two of the ships were at Palmyra Atoll. One was a Taiwanese fishing vessel that ran aground in 1991. The other was a pontoon barge grounded in the 1950s.

At Kingman Reef Refuge, team members removed debris from an unmarked vessel than ran aground eight years ago.

The refuges are located about 1,000 miles south of Honolulu.

State investigating Kauai fish, squid die-off

LIHUE, Kauai — The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating the large-scale die-off of fish and squid on Kauai.

The department said Wednesday between 500 and 800 lanternfish and squid were reported dead or dying near Nawiliwili.

Both types of marine life live in waters 300 to 600 feet deep or deeper. The department said they are known for migrating to shallower waters at night.

Division of Aquatic Resources staff and U.S. Geological Survey biologists are collecting samples to determine why the fish and squid are dying.

The department is asking the public to help it understand how widespread the die-off is. It’s asking people to look for dead or dying marine life on the beach and report what they find on the Eyes of the Reef Network website.

By local and wire sources