In brief | Big Island & State | 2-14-14
Park to get new playground equipment
New children’s playground equipment will be installed at Old Kona Airport Park, according to the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
Work will start Tuesday and is expected to be completed by the end of May.
While the park will remain open, the existing playground will be removed and unavailable for use. To protect the public, the contractor’s work area will be fenced off.
The county advises park users to be aware of construction activity and equipment.
For more information, contact county spokesman Jason Armstrong at 345-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police seek man wanted for four abuse cases
Hawaii Island police are searching for Nathan AhLoo, 34, who is wanted for four abuse cases, as well as a $2,000 bench warrant for contempt of court.
He is described as Hawaiian, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair, possibly shaved. He has no permanent address but frequents the South Kohala area.
Police ask anyone who knows his whereabouts not to approach him but call the police department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Public asked to be ‘dolphin smart’
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and National Marine Fisheries Service are advising people to be “dolphin smart.”
To avoid potential harassment of spinner dolphins, ocean and beach users should keep the recommended distance of 150 feet when observing dolphins in the wild. Hawaiian spinner dolphins move into bays and coves during the day to rest, care for their young and avoid predators. It is important not to disturb them as these activities are critical to their survival. At night, they move offshore to feed.
Spinner dolphins are named for their unique behavior of leaping out of the water and spinning in the air. These social animals travel in groups of 10, 100 or more and are believed to live more than 20 years. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits harassing, hunting, capturing or killing — or attempts to harass, hunt, capture or kill — any marine mammal.
All ocean users are encouraged to use the following Dolphin SMART guidelines: Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins; Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance; Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near; Refrain from feeding, touching or swimming with wild dolphins; and Teach others to be Dolphin SMART.
The Dolphin SMART program recognizes commercial tour operators that voluntarily adhere to responsible guidelines. For more information and a list of approved businesses, visit dolphinsmart.org. Report any violations to the enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964.
All national parks offering free entry this weekend
All National Park Service sites will offer free admission Presidents’ Day weekend, Saturday through Monday.
No fees will be charged to enter Hawaii Volcanoes or Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.
The three other national parks on Hawaii Island — Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail — do not charge entrance fees.
Infant returns to Oahu after catching measles
HONOLULU — Hawaii public health officials are concerned people may contract the measles after an Oahu infant returned from the Philippines with the disease.
The state Department of Health said Thursday the baby is hospitalized and recovering. But the child was infectious while traveling and while visiting health care providers.
Measles is highly contagious. It’s spread by direct contact with mucus from the nose and throat and by airborne respiratory droplets.
State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park encourages those who suspect they have the disease to call their doctor immediately and isolate themselves to contain the illness.
Symptoms include blotchy red rash, fever, cough and runny nose. Victims may also have red, watery eyes and report feeling achy and run down.
People who haven’t been vaccinated are at greatest risk for catching measles.
21 months for collecting dead dad’s benefits
HONOLULU — A California woman has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for receiving disability payments from Hawaii for her father, even though he died in 1990.
Lynsie Williams, of Redlands, Calif., was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Honolulu.
Court documents say her father Edwin Callison qualified for Hawaii disability benefits when he was injured in 1976 at his job at the Kauai Humane Society.
He died in California in 1990 but Williams continued collecting his benefits.
According to a plea agreement, Williams deposited nearly $400,000 in a joint account and forged documents when Hawaii officials wanted to verify her father was still alive.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick said she’ll need to pay that back to the state and must also perform 300 hours of community service.
Kauai council authorizes $75K for attorneys
LIHUE, Kauai — The Kauai County Council has authorized spending $75,000 to hire attorneys to defend a new law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops by large agricultural businesses.
The 5-0 council vote, taken Wednesday with two members absent, will allow the county attorney to hire outside legal services to answer a lawsuit filed in federal court last month by Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer and Agrigenetics Inc., which does business as Dow AgroSciences.
County officials will select special counsel from a prequalified list of 17 attorneys, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The county had initially planned to rely on donated services, and several firms had previously offered pro bono legal help.
But the county said it received only one response to its formal request for pro bono services. The county rejected that attorney’s submission, partly because of a lack of relevant qualifications.
Today is the deadline for the county to notify the court of its legal representation.
By local and wire sources