In brief | Big Island & State | 3-26-14


Police arrest 32 for DUI

Hawaii Island police arrested 32 drivers for suspected drunken driving between March 17 and Sunday; 11 were involved in traffic accidents.

Police have made 312 suspected DUI arrests this year compared with 304 during the same period in 2013, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Kona officers arrested 13 motorists while South Hilo officers arrested 11, according to police. South Kohala and Puna officers arrested four motorists in each district.

There have been 381 major accidents this year compared with 308 during the same period in 2013. To date, there have been three traffic fatalities on Big Island public roadways compared with 11 at this time in 2013. To date, one of the fatalities has been attributed to drugs and one to a combination of drugs and alcohol, according to police.

Parry Estate coffee to be featured at Starbucks

Starbucks has added a Kona-grown coffee to its Reserve collection.

Starbucks Reserve 100 percent Kona Parry Estate will be available for a limited time in select Starbucks stores.

The Parry Estate has been owned and operated by John Parry for more than 25 years and produces an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 pounds of green coffee per acre, according to Starbucks.

The product is currently also available for purchase online.

Police seek assault suspects

Hawaii Island police are investigating an assault in Hilo and are looking for a suspect who was captured on video surveillance.

Early Monday morning, police responded to an area near the intersection of Kilauea Avenue and Aupuni Street after receiving a report of an assault. Responding officers contacted a 51-year-old Hilo man who reported that an unidentified man punched him while the suspect’s male companion held him down.

Officers recovered surveillance video footage which appears to depict a man wearing a hooded flannel print-type jacket and shirt. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects, described by the victim as “local,” in their 30s, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds with medium builds and tan complexions.

Detectives are continuing the investigation, classified as a misdemeanor assault.

Anyone with information on this incident or anyone who may recognize the suspect should call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Scott Amaral at 961-2276 or samaral@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Honokaa gets new place for kids to play

Hawaii County officials blessed a new play area at Honokaa Park Tuesday morning.

The $295,000 playground features an area designed for 2- to 5-year-olds and another for children ages 5 to 12. Slides, climbing rings, covered decks and a grass-like safety surface comprise the playground’s modular design. It replaces obsolete play equipment, county Department of Parks and Recreation officials said in a news release.

“I was first approached by Joycelyn Embernate about her concern for a safe place for our children to play, but many other community members have called about the same concern,” Hawaii County Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter said. “This new playground will provide opportunities for all of our children to stay active and play in a safe area, with their families.”

Kauai County voting map to remain intact

LIHUE, Kauai — Kauai won’t draw new voting districts for electing county council members.

The Kauai County Charter Review Commission on Monday rejected three proposals that would have given voters the chance to split the island into districts for electing council members.

Supporters of the measures hoped to make council members responsible to residents of specific areas, The Garden Island newspaper reported.

Opponents said creating different districts would divide the island. They also said redistricting might push localized concerns ahead of the island’s general welfare.

In Kauai now, voters elect seven at-large candidates to represent the whole county.

Excessive force suit against Maui police dismissed

WAILUKU, Maui — A federal judge has dismissed an excessive force lawsuit by two men who were shot by Maui police officers in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled the officers used reasonable force in firing shots at the driver of a fleeing truck, the Maui News reported. The order filed last week said the four officers fired in an effort to stop the driver and inadvertently hit Joshua Nakagawa and Anthony Lum-John, who were riding in the bed of the truck.

The two men sued, claiming excessive force was used and their civil rights were violated.

“The officers have been completely vindicated,” said Maui County Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey. “This ruling ends the lawsuit in favor of the officers and the county.”

Abercrombie, Kauai push against Niihau regulation

LIHUE, Kauai — Gov. Neil Abercrombie and local government officials on Kauai are pushing for state lawmakers to avoid bills that would regulate coastal and marine resources near the island of Niihau.

The Garden Island newspaper reported Tuesday that Abercrombie told Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. that his administration won’t take any affirmative action on the Niihau regulation proposals until state and local lawmakers collaborate and figure out how community members will be heard.

Carvalho wrote to Abercrombie saying he is concerned about proposals in the House and Senate to do things such as establish no-fishing zones and regulate opihi harvesting.

Abercrombie told Carvalho it appears most of the bills will be defeated anyway, although anything can happen before the end of session.

The Kauai County Council this month asked legislators and state agencies to stop plans to regulate Niihau. One of the bills would have made Niihau its own county, separate from Kauai. Another granted fishing rights.

By local and wire sources