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In Brief | Big Island & State | 12-29-13

December 28, 2013 - 9:50pm

W. Hawaii state parks to close early Tuesday

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will close West Hawaii state parks at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Parks closing early include Hapuna State Recreation Area, Kiholo State Park Reserve and Kekaha Kai State Park — Mahaiula and Kua Bay sections.

“We are closing the parks early to discourage use of fireworks, which are prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area,” said department chairman William Aila.

The parks will resume normal hours on Wednesday. Kekaha Kai State Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Hapuna State Recreation Area from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Kiholo State Park Reserve from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mourners pay tribute to former Lt. Gov. King

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s first woman to be elected lieutenant governor is being remembered as a pioneer in state politics.

Mourners gathered at Kawaihao Church in Honolulu for a memorial service Saturday to honor former Lt. Gov. Jean Sadako King.

King, who died last month at 84, served the office from 1978 until 1982 under former Gov. George Ariyoshi.

King also served in the state House of Representatives from 1972 to 1974 and in the state Senate from 1974 to 1978.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie ordered all state flags be flown at half-staff this weekend in King’s memory.

Man gets 15-year term in meth, gambling case

HONOLULU — Federal prosecutors in Honolulu said a man has been sentenced to 15 years of prison for running an illegal gambling business and for dealing meth.

Lawrence Tuitele was also sentenced to five years’ supervised release on Friday.

Prosecutors said the 57-year-old’s criminal conduct spanned his entire adult life and that he’s never held a legitimate job. In a plea agreement with the government, he pleaded guilty to charges including operating an illegal gambling business and methamphetamine distribution.

Sailboat reascues stranded paddleboarder

HONOLULU — Maui fire officials said a stranded standup paddleboarder who was blown out to sea by strong winds has been rescued.

The Maui News reported that the 21-year-old woman visiting from Boston was picked up by a sailboat off Lahaina on Friday afternoon.

Capt. Paul Haake said he was part of a group of six friends who had rented paddleboards near the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort &Spa. He said the other five made it to shore but had lost sight of the woman and reported her missing around 2:30 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard and fire officials launched a boat and helicopter search. The Coast Guard received a call from a sailboat, saying it had picked up a female paddler. Authorities said the search ended at 3:15 p.m.

Police seek suspects in homeless man’s death

HONOLULU — Honolulu police said the investigation into an assault on a homeless man is now a murder investigation.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported authorities are looking for three suspects who attacked a 62-year-old homeless man Friday. A Honolulu police spokeswoman said the victim died after being hospitalized in critical condition.

Police said the assault happened at about 3:10 a.m. Friday in the McCully area near the intersection of King and Punahou streets. Authorities said the assault occurred following an argument.

This is the second time this month a homeless person in Honolulu has died following an attack.

On Dec. 4, an 83-year-old homeless man was found unconscious and beaten in Chinatown. He was pronounced dead the next day. Police arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with that attack.

By local and wire sources