In Brief | Big Island and State
Hilo carjacking suspect charged Friday
Police have charged a man arrested in connection with a carjacking Wednesday.
Alkapone Cruz-Balles, 19, who has no permanent address, was charged Friday with first-degree robbery and car theft, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $12,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday.
Skate park hit by
HONOLULU — Vandals have smeared surf wax all over Hawaii Kai skate park, creating a slippery, dangerous situation for skateboarders.
KHON-TV said a skater reported the vandalism at Kamiloiki’s Skate Park to the city earlier this week.
The city shut down the park on Wednesday to power wash the surface. The park was reopened on Thursday.
Skateboarder Hunter Long said skating on the waxed surface was like hitting black ice while driving.
Officials say this is the first time there’s been a problem with wax vandalism at any of the city’s 11 skate parks.
The city plans to file a police report and will press charges if the vandal is found.
Kauai uses ’copter
on invasive weed
LIHUE, Kauai — Officials looking to control invasive species on Kauai are using helicopters and paintball guns to help fight a plant that causes erosion, shades out other species and takes precious rainwater.
The Kauai Invasive Species Committee has been shooting herbicide capsules at miconia trees, which are present on about 300 acres in the Wailua Game Management Area and Wailua State Park, The Garden Island reported.
The method involves firing a capsule onto a tree’s leaves or stem from above. It was invented by James Leary, a specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaii.
“I really try to emphasize the surgical nature,” Leary said. “We’re really dispelling the notion that large amounts of herbicides are needed to accomplish a job.”
Leary says he has been supervising use of the method on Kauai, Maui and Oahu. He says he eventually plans to train committee staff to use the technology.
Keren Gundersen, project coordinator for the committee, said the miconia plants are the committee’s top target.
“It has the potential to destroy our entire watershed,” Gundersen said.
Gundersen said that by surveying and treating plants at the same time, the herbicide treatments are improving the odds of eradicating plants before they mature and reproduce.
Leary said the goal is to control the miconia before they become a large, uncontrollable problem.
“We can get a return on investment,” he said, “which is the elimination of miconia on Kauai.”
The committee plans to use the method quarterly.
Ex-screener accused of stealing cash
HONOLULU — A former Transportation Security Administration screener at Honolulu International Airport is accused of stealing money from a traveler’s wallet.
Hawaii Department of Public Safety deputies arrested Tracy Leanne Owens and charged her with fourth-degree theft. She allegedly stole less than $100 last month at a security screening line for passengers at the airport.
She has since resigned from her job, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said. The agency doesn’t tolerate theft, he said.
“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” Melendez said in a statement.
Owens, 47, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message left at her home Friday.
She posted bail and is expected to appear in court next week, public safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said.
Owens was questioned about the reported June 22 theft and released, Schwartz said. Then sheriff’s deputies arrested her five days later.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported she was convicted of third-degree theft in 1995.
Man struck by trolley in Waikiki
HONOLULU — Honolulu police say a man in his 20s is in critical condition after he was struck by a Waikiki trolley while crossing the street.
Hawaii News Now said the man was hit Thursday night while crossing a street near the intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamekee Street.
The man, whose name was not released, was not believed to have been using a crosswalk.
Police do not believe alcohol or speed were factors in the incident.
By local and wire sources