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In Brief | Big Island & State | 12-11-13

Updated: 
December 10, 2013 - 10:12pm

Police arrest 25 for suspected DUI

Hawaii Island police arrested 25 drivers for suspected drunken driving between Dec. 2 and Sunday; six were involved in traffic accidents; four were younger than 21.

Police have made 1,238 suspected DUI arrests this year compared with 1,385 during the same period in 2012, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

Kona officers arrested 19 motorists and South Hilo officers arrested three, according to police. Puna officers arrested two motorists while North Hilo officers arrested one.

There have been 1,243 major accidents this year compared with 1,375 during the same period in 2012. To date, there have been 25 traffic fatalities on Big Island public roadways compared with 37 at this time in 2012. To date, five of the fatalities have been related to drugs; two to alcohol and six to a combination of alcohol and drugs, according to police.

DLNR public hearing draws no testifiers

No testimony was given during a public hearing regarding amendments to Hawaii Administrative Rules relating to stony coral and live rock Tuesday evening in Kailua-Kona. Six people attended the hearing held at Kealakehe High School.

The hearing sought public testimony on the proposed amendments that would clarify what activities constitute “damage” to stony coral and live rock as well as establish a formula for calculating administrative penalties for such violations. The proposed rules have been in the works since 2009, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources.

A similar public hearing is slated from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Aupuni Conference Room in Hilo, according to the department.

Following public hearings, which are being held across the state, the rules may be revised, if necessary, then submitted to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for final approval. The rules are then reviewed by the state Attorney General and after being signed by the governor, they are filed with the lieutenant governor and become law.

Comments can be mailed until Dec. 27 to the Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813. The draft rules are available at state.hi.us/ dlnr /dar/rules/drafts/stony_coral_live_%20rock_dr.pdf.

Waimea man sought on warrant and for questioning in theft case

Hawaii Island police are renewing their request for information about a 24-year-old Waimea man wanted for questioning in connection with a theft investigation.

Brandon Kelii Paulino-Pawai is also wanted on a bench warrant for contempt of court, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

He is 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 190 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, which may have a lighter tint, according to police. He has a tattoo on the left side of his neck.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Levon Stevens at 326-4646, ext. 275, or lstevens@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

NRC issues PTA license to possess depleted uranium

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Nov. 22 issued a license to the U.S. Army, Installation Management Command, for possession of depleted uranium from the Davy Crockett weapon spotting road at the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area and Schofield Barracks on Oahu, according to the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality and Control.

The Army informed the commission in 2006 that it had discovered DU fragments at the Schofield Barracks. Following that discovery, the Army determined the Davy Crockett system had been used at other installations, including PTA.

Depleted uranium, a dense, weakly radioactive metal alloy left over from the uranium enrichment process, was used as a 6.7-ounce spotting round to mimic the trajectory of the Davy Crockett nuclear warhead during the Cold War. Stephens Media Hawaii reported the approval of the license in October.

Lane closures continue in Honalo for tree trimming

Hawaii County Department of Public Works Highway Maintenance Division crews will again assist Hawaiian Telcom with the removal of vegetation from cable lines today along Mamalahoa Highway in Honalo, according to the Hawaii County Department of Public Works. Hawaiian Telcom is also replacing several cable lines at the same time.

Alternating lane closures will be in effect while crews perform work between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to the county. Motorists are advised to use the Mamalahoa bypass via Halekii Street and Alii Drive.

Jason Scott Lee featured in effort to save palila

Jason Scott Lee, the star of 25 motion pictures who was raised in Hawaii, has lent his voice to a new public service announcement aimed at helping to save the endangered palila bird, which is found only in a small patch of mamane forest on Mauna Kea.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife and American Bird Conservancy initiated the campaign that began airing statewide this week. Lee provides the voice of the palila, or Loxioides bailleui, describing the causes of the bird’s declining population and management efforts to help save the species.

“Not many people are familiar with what a palila is and why they are worth saving. That’s because they live in remote and rugged terrain that few people ever visit,” said DOFAW Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project Coordinator Robert Stephens. “What makes palila special is that they are a classic example of the spectacular evolutionary process that occurred in the remoteness of the Hawaiian Islands. They survived in the dry forests for thousands of years by adapting to a food source, mamane pods, that is toxic to other wildlife. Palila belong here and are one of the things that makes Hawaii one of the most amazing places on the planet.”

According to the DLNR, the population of the palila, a Hawaiian honeycreeper, has declined 66 percent in the past decade with fewer than 2,200 birds left. The decrease is attributed to habitat degradation, predation, and severe drought that is causing a reduction in food supply. The palila historically lived across most of Hawaii Island, but today its range is about 5 percent of that size.

In a 1979 court ruling, the U.S. District Court for Hawaii mandated the DLNR permanently remove nonnative ungulates from the palila’s designated critical habitat though all necessary means, including fencing and aerial hunts, according to the DLNR. With that in mind, DOFAW is currently replacing fencing encircling the Mauna Kea palila critical habitat area and removing nonnative ungulates from the area. In addition, the division is also restoring and replanting Mauna Kea’s mamane forest.

Small craft advisory in effect

A small craft advisory is in effect for Hawaii Island’s leeward and southeast waters through 6 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Forecasters said the advisory was prompted by a high pressure system passing far north of the islands that is causing trade winds to strengthen. The service forecast northeast winds reaching 20 to 25 knots, or about 23 to 29 mph. Rough seas of 7 to 12 feet are expected.

A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 25 to 33 knots, or 29 to 38 mph, and/or seas are expected to be 10 feet or greater and expected to produce conditions hazardous to small craft, according to the service. Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in such conditions.

Customer ‘squished’ coqui frog at Oahu store

KAPOLEI, Oahu — An invasive coqui frog was captured and squished by a customer at a Kapolei Home Depot store Saturday.

Hawaii News Now reported customers started hearing the frog’s distinct whistle in the nursery section last week.

The State Department of Agriculture is leaving it up to Home Depot to continue monitoring for more coqui whistles.

Developers revive housing plan for Maui

WAILUKU, Maui — Developers are reviving a plan for a Central Maui housing development that would include 450 multifamily units, retail and office space and a 15-acre park.

The Maui News reported the homes would be built west of the Kehalani master-planned community south of Wailuku.

Project coordinator Blanca Lafolette said developers are working on a draft environmental impact statement they plan to submit early next year.

Police seek Hilo man in domestic violence case

A Hilo woman remained in serious condition Tuesday evening at an Oahu hospital following a domestic violence incident that was reported Monday night in Hilo.

The 41-year-old woman reported that between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Monday, she was involved in an argument with her boyfriend, 35-year-old Justin Lee, at their Hilo home, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. As the argument escalated, he allegedly ran over her with a car and then fled on foot.

Lee is described as “local,” 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a heavy build, brown eyes and a tan complexion. Lee, who is bald, also has a mole on the left side of his chin and numerous tattoos on the back of his head, neck and arms as well as large words tattooed where his eyebrows should be.

In addition, Lee has three outstanding warrants for his arrest, including a no-bail warrant, according to police.

Anyone with information about this incident or Lee’s whereabouts should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jefferson Grantz at 961-8810 or jgrantz@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

By local and wire sources