In Brief | Big Island & State | 3-6-14


Police warn of real estate scam

Hawaii Island police are warning the public about an email scam from someone posing as a real estate agent.

According to police, a Puna man received an email claiming police were planning to seize his home because of suspected illegal activities. The email said the recipient had 30 days to vacate the premises or he would face fines or jail time. It instructed the recipient to contact the sender to make arrangements for moving out of the home. An attachment — which the letter claimed has a “legal statement” and contact information for the real estate company — actually contained a computer virus.

The police department does not seize residential property without a court order, and citizens are not subject to criminal fines or jail sentences without going through the judicial process.

Police alert the public not to open email attachments from senders they do not know, as they often contain viruses that can infect computers and might ask for personal information that could allow the sender to steal the recipient’s identity. Police recommend deleting unsolicited emails with attachments.

Hawaiian suspends Taiwan flight amid slow demand

HONOLULU — Hawaiian Airlines is suspending its nonstop service to Taiwan, saying the increase in demand it anticipated after a change to U.S. visa rules hasn’t materialized.

The airline said Wednesday the last flight from Honolulu to Taipei will take off on April 6. The final return flight will depart Taipei the following day.

China Airlines also operates a nonstop flight between the two cities.

Hawaiian’s announcement comes just weeks after it said it would end its nonstop service between Honolulu and Fukuoka, Japan.

Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley said the airline expected more demand after the addition of Taiwan to a list of countries whose citizens may travel to the U.S. for 90 days without a visa.

But Dunkerley said there’s insufficient awareness of Hawaii in Taiwan for a successful nonstop service.

Lawmakers weigh subpoenas in hospital case

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are deciding how to proceed with their investigation into shoddy working conditions and mismanagement at Hawaii State Hospital.

A Senate investigative committee met Wednesday to determine how to keep digging into problems at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Kaneohe. They are considering issuing subpoenas to compel further testimony in the case.

Workers at the hospital have described assaults from patients. Injured staffers have said they’ve met extreme difficulty getting worker’s compensation after those attacks. They also have leveled charges of corruption and nepotism at hospital administration.

State figures showed more than 1,200 attacks at the hospital between 2006 and 2013. Hospital officials have told lawmakers in the past that assault counts can appear misleading because some nonviolent encounters are classified as assaults.

Hawaii’s Fukumoto to lead Republican effort

HONOLULU — Hawaii state Rep. Beth Fukumoto has been selected as a future leader by the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Fukumoto will serve as a board member of that committee’s project called the Future Majority Caucus. The group said Wednesday its goal is to diversify and grow the Republican Party by helping Republicans win state-level seats.

Fukumoto said she’s honored to join the group and to help steer the Republican Party in a direction that reflects the nation’s changing demographics.

The Future Majority Caucus is co-chaired by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee said it raised more than $30 million from 100,000 donors for candidates in 2009 and 2010.

Woman dies after being hit by Waikiki tour bus

HONOLULU — Police say a tour bus struck and killed a 73-year-old woman who was jaywalking near a Waikiki resort.

The woman was taken to Queen’s Medical Center, where she died. The medical examiner’s office on Wednesday identified her as Haruko Okabe of Honolulu.

Police said the woman was jaywalking near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tuesday morning when she was hit by a Polynesian Adventure Tours bus.

The company said it assigned an employee to help the victim’s family.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported this is Oahu’s fifth pedestrian death this year. The woman is the fourth person age 67 or older to die this year while walking on Oahu streets.

$2.3M in federal funds for Guam buses sits unspent

HAGATNA, Guam — About $2.3 million in federal funds designated to improve Guam’s struggling bus system has gone unspent.

The Pacific Daily News reported Wednesday that transportation officials said bid specifications for buying new buses, satellite tracking and other conveniences are only now being finalized, though funding has been available for years.

Funds to buy buses have been available since 2009 and funds for the center for mass-transit riders have been available since 2011.

Mass Transit Executive Manager Rudy Cabana said the territory might open bidding next month for contractors for the new buses. He said the bids were delayed because details needed to be worked out, including changes to adapt the buses to Guam’s corrosive environment.

Cabana said specifications on the transportation center are still being finalized.

By local and wire sources