In brief | Big Island & state 092713


Police still seeking missing Hilo man

Big Island police are still searching for a 48-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing.

Richard Gomez entered the water in Hilo in a small rowboat at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 and has not been seen since. He may be headed for South Point. The boat was originally reported as a kayak, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Gomez is described as 6 feet tall, weighing 175 pounds. He is bald and has green eyes, police said.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department are assisting in the search.

Anyone with information on Gomez’s whereabouts should call the police department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or the Coast Guard Command Center on Oahu at 842-2600. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo.

Parks and Rec closes Ahalanui Park after illness report

The Department of Parks and Recreation closed Ahalanui Park in lower Puna on Thursday after learning of an unconfirmed report that a member of the public allegedly became sick after swimming in the park’s hot pond.

The park will remain closed pending results of tests being conducted by the state Department of Health Clean Water Branch.

For more information, contact Jason Armstrong, public information officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Army opening training areas to bow hunters

Army officials are opening several training areas for bow hunting on the Big Island from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Training areas 1 to 4 will be open for bow hunting of mammals only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep per day in keeping with state bag limits. Shooting sheep with blue collars is not permitted.

All hunters must check in and out at one of the following hunter’s check-in stations: Kilohana, located on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, or Puu Huluhulu, located at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and Saddle Road near mile marker 28. Check out time is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations beginning today after 5 p.m. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.

Hunter access to training areas 1 to 4 is through any of gates 1 to 10 on Saddle Road. Motorists should be advised that military vehicles may be traveling on old Saddle Road. Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes or recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas.

For more information, call PTA hunter’s hotline at 969-3474 or visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the “Hunting” tab.

Prostitute was strangled, expert testifies at hearing

KANEOHE BAY, Oahu — A forensic pathologist testifying at a military hearing of a Marine accused of killing a prostitute says she was strangled.

Hawaii News Now reports William Goodhue said Thursday Ivy Harris died because she didn’t have enough oxygen flowing to her brain.

Originally from Oregon, Harris was visiting Hawaii from Las Vegas with her pimp.

Master Sgt. Nathaniel Cosby is charged with murder, patronizing a prostitute and other charges.

Defense attorney Lt. Col. Clay Plummer said the evidence will not prove his client guilty when all the facts are before the court.

An Article 32 hearing to determine whether Cosby should be court-martialed was held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday and Thursday.

Harris’ body was found May 20 in a remote area about 40 miles west of Waikiki.

Grand jury indicts former school aide in sex assaults

HONOLULU — An Oahu grand jury has indicted a former aide at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind on two counts of sexual assault at the school eight years ago.

The grand jury Wednesday indicted Alfie S. Lumabas for what prosecutors said were assaults committed in 2005 when the teacher’s aide was 29 and the female student was 14, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The girl was living in the school dormitory that year, investigators said. Lumabas sexually assaulted her during one-on-one tutoring sessions sanctioned by the school, according to prosecutors.

Lumabas moved to California later in 2005, said deputy prosecutor Chastity Imamura.

The girl in February 2008 told a school counselor about the assaults. Administrators notified the girl’s parents. The girl that year also reported the sexual assaults to Honolulu police, prosecutors said.

Lumabas is the first person to face charges connected to sexual assaults at the school.

Group picks architect, contractor for Coco Palms

LIHUE, Kauai — The owners of Kauai’s Coco Palms Resort have sent most of their reconstruction permit applications to the county and have picked a team to rebuild the hotel. “The remainder of the submittals will happen in the next few weeks,” Coco Palms redevelopment group member Chad Waters told The Garden Island.

Coco Palms has sat in ruins since Hurricane Iniki lashed Kauai in 1992. It’s the only major hotel that never reopened after the storm.

The group has selected Agor Architects to be the project’s architect and Unlimited Construction Services as the contractor.

The group is seeking permits under a county ordinance that allows developers to restore hurricane-damaged structures to their pre-Iniki condition without requiring them to adhere to current stricter health and safety standards.

The developers are under a tight deadline, however, because the Kauai County Council is considering legislation that would eliminate the ordinance.

The proposal, which would make it nearly impossible to rebuild Coco Palms exactly the way it was, passed a first reading Wednesday. A public hearing is scheduled Oct. 23, and the full council would eventually consider the measure before it goes to the mayor for his signature.

The legislative process could take six to eight weeks to complete, giving developers enough time to secure permits under the current law.

Project architect Ron Agor said he’s nervous about the “signs of inconsistency” in the administration’s position regarding the Coco Palms project. Still, he believes he can work with the administration and be able to start construction in February.

Agor said he electronically filed the majority of the required building permits, and is only waiting on a number provided by the county so he can send the blueprints. In the next few weeks, he said he will send the plans to rebuild the cottages in the back of Coco Palms.

Though dust screens are already in place, Agor said the demolition hasn’t started yet. The owners are waiting for building permits before taking down irreparable structures.

By local and wire sources