In brief | 102213 Big Island & state


Ka‘u man facing drug charges after raid

A Ka‘u man has been charged with several drug offenses following the execution of a search warrant on his home last week.

Vice Section officers served the warrant Thursday at a Bamboo Lane home, where they found 113 marijuana plants ranging in height from 6 inches to 3 feet, 22.2 grams of hashish, 1 pound of dried marijuana, 4.5 grams of heroin, eight prescription pills and paraphernalia associated with marijuana distribution and cultivation.

Police arrested David Klemz, 58, who lived at the home, and two other Ocean View men.

Klemz was charged with commercial promotion of marijuana, promoting a dangerous drug, promoting detrimental drugs, promoting harmful drugs and drug paraphernalia. His bail on those offenses was set at $36,000. He was also charged with promoting prison contraband in connection with an unrelated $10,000 bail grand jury indictment, and for a no-bail warrant for revocation of probation.

Alan Griener, 51, also of Ocean View, was charged in connection with two unrelated bench warrants for failure to appear in court with bail totaling $450. The third man who was arrested was released pending further investigation.

Prescription drug take-back planned

The police department asks the public to participate in a nationwide prescription drug take-back initiative, sponsored in Hawaii by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the state Department of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety.

Community members may turn in unused, unneeded or expired prescription medications between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kona police station parking lot, 74-611 Hale Makai Place, Kailua-Kona.

Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be accepted. Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

Having unused and expired medicine in the home increases the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental poisoning. Proper disposal also helps reduce the risk of prescription drugs entering the water supply or harming aquatic life.

State fines Hamakua firm for late filings

The state Department of Health Clean Air Branch has fined a Hamakua company for submitting reports and fees late.

DOH officials said they fined Edwin DeLuz Trucking and Gravel LLC $1,800 for submitting late semi-annual reports, annual emission reports and its annual fee. The company has a permit for a 265 tons per hour stone crushing and screening plant.

The violations were discovered during an inspection or records review by the DOH.

Kauai County seeks higher share of hotel tax

LIHUE, Kauai — Kauai County officials will ask the state for a larger slice of Hawaii’s hotel room tax.

Visitor-related expenses cost the county $44.2 million in fiscal year 2012, including nearly $25 million in operation expenses such as police and fire calls, said council legislative assistant Ashley Bunda.

Kauai County receives $13.7 million in hotel tax money and would like to see that doubled to $27.4 million, The Garden Island reported.

The state Transient Accommodation Tax is a 9.25 percent surcharge on hotel rooms. State lawmakers since 2010 have capped the hotel tax share for all counties at $93 million. Kauai County’s share was 14.5 percent.

The projected amount collected by the hotel tax this year is $352 million, representing a $98 million increase from the 2011 tax collection, said Kauai Council Chairman Jay Furfaro two weeks ago. If the state had not capped the counties’ share, Kauai’s share would have grown to $16.3 million, Furfaro said.

A request for additional money may be difficult to defend in the 2014 Legislature, Furfaro said. However, operational costs related to the visitor industry are $10 million above what the county receives and that does not include capital projects, he said.

Land and ocean rescues are among expenses tied to tourism. The Kauai Fire Department says it spend $5.4 million because of visitors, while the Kauai Police Department said it spent $6.3 million serving tourists.

Kauai tourism officials say the industry has rebounded from the nation’s economic problems. Since 2009, visitor arrivals have grown annually at a rate of 5 percent while visitors spending has surged 10 percent, according to the county.

During fiscal year 2012, Kauai hosted an average of 21,717 visitors each day. The island’s population was 68, 434.

Waianae woman pleads guilty in meth case

HONOLULU — A Waianae woman is pleading guilty in a federal case involving a package sent from California to Hawaii containing about six pounds of crystal meth.

Vyra Kaopua pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy with intent to possess and distribute methamphetamine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beverly Sameshima said the crystal meth involved has a street value of $108,000 to $138,000.

A criminal complaint says FedEx security intercepted the Waianae-bound package of drugs in April.

The complaint says a Drug Enforcement Administration agent posing as a FedEx deliveryman took the package to the Waianae address, where Kaopua signed for it.

The complaint says Kaopua then helped agents arrest the man she was to deliver the drugs to. She told agents it was the third drug parcel she received.

Oahu to add more school bus routes

HONOLULU — The state Department of Education is reinstating bus service next month for 200 Oahu students whose routes were eliminated last year because of budget cuts.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday that the department says the restored service was made possible because of success with its “Get on Board” initiative.

Officials overhauled the public school bus system by using routing software and GPS tracking to rein in transportation costs.

The department also reformed vendor contracts as part of the pilot initiative.

The restored routes will serve students at August Ahrens Elementary, Highlands Intermediate, and Pearl City and Waipahu High schools.

Department officials say last year they were faced with a $17 million shortfall for student transportation.

Lawyers urge mayor to sign pesticide bill

LIHUE, Kauai — A pair of attorneys is urging Kauai’s mayor to sign a bill mandating disclosure of pesticide use and genetically modified crops into law.

The Garden Island reported Sunday that attorney Paul Achitoff, of nonprofit Earthjustice, and George Kimbrell, with the Center for Food Safety, are asking Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to approve the legislation.

In a letter Friday, both lawyers say they are prepared to intervene if any companies challenge the bill in court.

The Kauai County Council approved the bill last week, which requires farms to reveal the presence of genetically modified crops if they use more than five pounds or 15 gallons of restricted use pesticides annually.

The council rejected a request by Carvalho to defer the measure to allow discussions with the state on enforcement.

By local and wire sources