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

December 12, 2013 - 3:51pm

Police locate missing Hilo man

Hawaii Island police have located 70-year-old John Richard Strange of Hilo, who was reported missing.

He was found unharmed Wednesday morning in Pahoa, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

UH-Hilo employee threatened by man with gun on campus

Big Island police are asking the public’s help locating a man who reportedly brandished and pointed a firearm at a University of Hawaii at Hilo employee Monday morning at the college’s upper campus.

The 25-year-old employee reported to police that around 9 a.m., while he was near the upper campus, he was accosted by the man who then fled in a black pickup truck, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. The victim, who was not injured in the incident, went home to Puna before calling police around 10 a.m. to report the threat.

The suspect was described as being “local,” in his 30s with a dark complexion and a neatly trimmed beard with long sideburns to his chin, according to police. He was wearing black sunglasses at the time.

The truck was described as a lifted black Toyota Tacoma with black rims and dark black tint, according to police. It also has a white “NSPYR” sticker near the vehicle’s fuel door.

Police advise the public not to approach the truck, because the operator may be armed and is considered dangerous.

Anyone with information about the case or the identity or whereabouts of the suspect or vehicle should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or

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

Man arrested in connection with Hilo domestic incident

Hawaii Island police have arrested 35-year-old Justin Lee, who was wanted in connection with a domestic violence incident reported Monday night in Hilo.

Lee turned himself in at the Hilo police station at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangering and is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continue the investigation. Lee was also arrested and charged with bail jumping, contempt of court and violating terms of release, according to police.

EEOC, retailer settle discrimination suit

HONOLULU — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said a company that operates stores at Hawaii resort areas will pay $60,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

The EEOC announced Wednesday that Step Three Ltd. is settling the lawsuit involving a buyer who underwent infertility treatments. The EEOC said a company official allegedly made offensive comments about her intentions and eventual pregnancy.

The agency claims the buyer lost her job when she said she wouldn’t be able to travel because of her pregnancy.

According to the EEOC, the company agreed to pay the woman $60,000 and provide a neutral reference. The company also agreed to implement various anti-discrimination policies and procedures.

The owner of the company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The EEOC said Step Three sells shoes, bags and accessories.

Kauai auditor claims retaliation from county

HONOLULU — Kauai’s auditor said the County Council has been threatening to fire him in retaliation for an audit that revealed a high-ranking elected official illegally used a county gas card.

Ernesto Pasion filed a civil lawsuit against the county this week, claiming that attempts to fire him stem from a 2010 audit of fuel expenses. The audit found that the elected official bought gasoline for a private vehicle, prompting an investigation by Kauai police.

Pasion said in the lawsuit that the unnamed official and Council Chairman Jay Furfaro are political allies.

County attorneys are asking to move the case to federal court because it alleges violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act. A spokeswoman and a county attorney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Guam sends $10M in back pay to officers

HAGATNA, Guam — Guam is sending $10 million of back pay to police, corrections and other public safety officers who haven’t been paid promised raises since 2009.

The Pacific Daily News reported Wednesday that the lump sum payments to about 1,000 officers will cover about half of the back pay owed.

Administration officials for Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo say the territory has been saving money to make the payment. The back pay has been the largest liability to government workers on the books.

Calvo said that other pay increases will be paid beginning next year.

Joshua Tenorio, spokesman for the Guam Judiciary, said marshals and probation officers got checks in November for back pay owed through September 2012. Tenorio said the back pay from 2013 is about $1.2 million.

Salvation Army says holiday donations down 30 percent

HONOLULU — The Salvation Army said donations to its holiday red kettle campaign in Hawaii are down by 30 percent so far.

The Salvation Army raised nearly $1 million last year. As of Monday, the red kettle bell campaign raised only about $371,000 statewide, officials said.

“We’re concerned about the slow collections so far this year and how this will impact our ability to help those who are hurting here in Hawaii,” said Salvation Army Divisional Commander Maj. John Chamness.

The organization was able to help more than 135,000 people in Hawaii last year, he said.

Other charities also say holiday giving is lagging.

By local and wire sources