In Brief | Big Island & State | 12-20-13


High surf warning in effect through Sat.

A high surf warning is in effect for west-facing shores of Hawaii Island through 6 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

A building northwest swell will fuel 20- to 25-foot waves along the Kona and Kohala coasts, according to forecasters. Because the swell has more of a westerly component, west-facing shores of Hawaii Island will see “much larger than normal surf.”

Forecasters expect the waves to gradually diminish by 6 p.m. Saturday, however, surf may remain hazardous through Sunday.

The service also warned of very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. The breaking waves may impact harbors making navigating harbor channels dangerous.

Beachgoers, swimmers and surfers should heed all advice given by ocean safety officials and exercise extreme caution.

Police searching for island’s most wanted

Hawaii Island police are asking the public’s help locating a 23-year-old man wanted in connection with a murder investigation, a man wanted for questioning about two thefts and a burglary, and an unidentified man wanted in a Hilo robbery.

Boaz David Johnson, 23, is still at large and wanted in connection with the strangulation death of his girlfriend, Brittany-Jane Royal, whose body was found May 28 in the ocean off Kalapana, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. Johnson is Caucasian, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds with a slim build and a fair complexion. He was last seen unshaven and with medium-length brown hair. He has a tattoo of the upper body of a horse near the right side of his abdomen. He is considered dangerous.

Thomas J. Desimone, 43, of no permanent address, is wanted for questioning about two thefts and a burglary in Puna, according to police. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds with blue eyes, brown hair, a mustache and goatee.

Police are also seeking the identity of a suspect in a Nov. 4 Hilo robbery. A 43-year-old Hilo woman reported that between 9 and 9:30 a.m., she was walking with a bicycle on Mililani Street between Piilani and Hualani streets when she was approached by a man who demanded money, threatened her and fled with cash, according to police. The victim was not injured in the encounter.

The suspect is described as “local,” between 5 feet 10 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall with a muscular build, dark brown eyes, very short black hair and a tan complexion, according to police. He was wearing surf shorts and a dirty blue tank top.

Anyone with information should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

The cases are being featured on the latest edition of “Hawaii Island’s Most Wanted,” a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo Inc. It airs on Na Leo O Hawaii Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.

PTA areas open to bird hunters Sat., Sun.

Army officials are opening the Keamuku Training Area at Pohakuloa Training Area for bird hunting from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The area will be open to shotgun bird hunting only, according to PTA. The use of shotgun slugs in not permitted. Hunting is subject to state hunting rules and bag limits.

All hunters must check in and out at one of the following hunter’s check-in stations: Kilohana, located on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, or Puuanahulu, located on Mamalahoa Highway, near mile marker 15. Check-out is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.

Hunter access to the Keamuku Training Area is permitted through the following areas:

c Via old Saddle Road: Gate 2, located near mile marker 45, and gate 7, located near mile marker 51.

c Via Highway 190: Gate 11, located near mile marker 7, and gate 14, located near mile marker 12.

Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas.

For more information, call PTA hunter’s hotline at 969-3474 or visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the “Hunting” tab.

PTA areas open for hunting Sat., Sun.

Army officials are opening several training areas for bow hunting within the Pohakuloa Training Area 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Training areas 12 through 16 will be open for bow hunting of mammals only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep, per day, in keeping with state bag limits. Shooting sheep with blue collars is not permitted.

All hunters must check in and check out at either Kilohana, on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, or Puu Huluhulu, at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and Saddle Road, hunter’s check-in stations. Check out no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations beginning 5 p.m. Friday. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.

Hunter access to training areas 12 through 16 is through the gate at mile marker 38.5 on old Saddle Road.

Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas.

For more information, call the PTA Hunter’s Hotline at 969-3474, visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the “Hunting” tab, or refer to instructions on the hunting pass.

Obama returning to Hawaii for holidays

HONOLULU — The White House said President Barack Obama and his family will be traveling to Hawaii.

They are due to leave Washington today aboard Air Force One and arrive in Honolulu just after midnight Saturday.

The president doesn’t have any public events scheduled during his time back in the islands.

He’s expected to stay in the same Kailua neighborhood where he has spent the year-end holidays since he was president elect.

In previous years, the president has played golf, visited Hanauma Bay and ventured into Kailua town for shave ice.

Obama was born in Honolulu. The Punahou School graduate spent most of his childhood on Oahu until he left for the mainland to attend college.

St. Marianne’s remains to return to Hawaii

HONOLULU — The remains of a saint known for caring for exiled leprosy patients will be returning to Hawaii.

St. Marianne’s remains will be moved from Syracuse, N.Y., to Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in downtown Honolulu.

Marianne Cope died in 1918 at Kalaupapa, the island of Molokai’s isolated peninsula where leprosy patients were exiled for decades. Her remains were exhumed in 2005 and taken to Syracuse, her hometown.

Her order, the Syracuse-based Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, announced relocation plans for the remains Thursday.

The move is necessary because the buildings of the campus where the remains are housed are no longer structurally sound. The sisters say it makes sense to return Marianne to Hawaii, where she spent 35 years.

Energy upgrades planned at 12 airports

HONOLULU — The state will spend $167 million for energy upgrades at 12 Hawaii airports.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the project will result in more than $500 million in energy savings over the next 20 years.

Johnson Controls won the contract, and will be responsible for replacing 75,000 light fixtures and 372 transformers. The company will also install 9,100 photovoltaic panels, and perform upgrades to water and air conditioning systems.

Hawaii News Now reported work will start in January and will be completed by December 2015. It’s estimated it will add 400 jobs.

The state is selling $167 million in certificates of participation on the bond market to pay for the project. The money recouped from energy savings is expected to pay off the bonds.

Plane crash recovery process complete

HONOLULU — The wreckage of a plane that crashed off Molokai has arrived in Honolulu.

Makani Kai Air owner Richard Schuman said Thursday a salvage dive team was able to recover the plane’s single engine.

The engine lost power soon after the plane took off from Kalaupapa last week, forcing a water landing. Hawaii Health Director Loretta Fuddy was a passenger and the only fatality of the nine people onboard.

Schuman said the wreckage and the engine arrived in Honolulu on a ship Wednesday night.

He said the engine will be transported to a factory of the engine manufacturer, where the National Transportation Safety Board will determine what caused it to fail.

The NTSB initially believed the plane couldn’t be recovered but it was eventually spotted off the north shore of Molokai.

Developer gets more time to rebuild Coco Palms

LIHUE, Kauai — The Kauai County Council is giving Coco Palms Resort developers more time to obtain building permits and begin restoring the storied hotel.

Coco Palms has sat in ruins since Hurricane Iniki lashed Kauai in 1992. It’s the only major hotel that never reopened after the storm. The council on Wednesday approved a bill that would extend, for another two years, a rule exempting redevelopment projects from some county setback and height ordinances created the decades since the hurricane.

Coco Palms developer Chad Waters told The Garden Island it’s grateful for the council’s efforts to give them a sunset window.

The ordinance allows for “a legally nonconforming structure to be reconstructed to its condition prior to Hurricane Iniki.”

By local and wire sources