In brief | Big Island & state briefs 081713


Motorists advised of Army convoys

Oahu-based soldiers will convoy from Kawaihae Harbor to Pohakuloa Training Area between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Aug. 24, 25 and 27.

The convoys will use the Akoni Pule corridor, Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Waikoloa Road, Mamalahoa Highway and Saddle Road.

The Hawaii Police Department will escort the convoys. Motorists are advised to be alert and drive with care.

Lawsuit says churches underpay to use schools

HONOLULU — A lawsuit filed in state court claims five churches have shortchanged the state more than $5.6 million over six years in rental and utility costs for using public schools.

Mitch Kahle, founder of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State, and public advocate Holly Huber filed the lawsuit in March. It remained under seal to allow the state to join as a plaintiff. Hawaii’s attorney general declined, and the lawsuit was unsealed this week.

The lawsuit names New Hope Oahu, New Hope Hawaii Kai, New Hope Kapolei, One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu as defendants.

Kahle and Huber could receive 25 percent to 30 percent of damages if the lawsuit is successful. The state would receive the rest.

A core contention is that churches are using schools for time beyond what’s stated in their applications to use the facilities.

Kahle and Huber said they investigated the churches for a year and compared actual use of gymnasiums, cafeterias and classrooms with proposed use. Fees were based on proposed use. In some cases, churches advertised services for longer periods, according to the plaintiffs.

New Hope Oahu underpaid Farrington High School more than $3.2 million in rent and utilities charges, according to the lawsuit, and New Hope Hawaii Kai underpaid for Kaiser High School by more than $1.1 million.

One Love Ministries underpaid Kaimuki High School by $930,000, New Hope Kapolei underpaid for Kapolei Middle School by more than $344,000 and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu was undercharged by more than $171,000 for Mililani High School, according to the lawsuit.

Found boat may be tsunami debris

HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources says a skiff that floated into Oahu’s Kawela Bay may be tsunami debris.

KITV-TV reports the 20- to 25-foot skiff discovered Wednesday was covered with barnacles. A state crew found no invasive species but located a vessel identification number and turned it over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency will contact the Japanese government to determine whether the owner wants the boat back.

More tsunami debris is expected.

A fisherman in September found a boat floating at sea. A 24-foot boat washed up on shore at Punaluu in December.

The Land and Resources Department in July removed a boat found on Malaekahana Beach.

Shooter with pellet gun damages city buses

HONOLULU — A Honolulu city bus driver injured by flying glass when his bus was struck by a pellet gun says he plans to continue driving.

The bus driven by Ernest Lake was one of four struck Tuesday night in what bus officials say were random shootings.

Lake told KHON-TV that he was on Route 2 near Liliha Public Library when a side window was hit. He said glass shattered and a piece lodged in his arm.

Lake’s bus was struck a few minutes after a Route 13 bus was hit.

About three hours later, buses on Routes 53 and 54 were hit by pellets.

Lake said drivers are not taking safety for granted and are keeping bus windows closed.

Damage to the buses was estimated at $1,600.

Whale sanctuary seeks council applicants

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for 10 primary seats and 14 alternate seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

“The members of our advisory council represent an extremely important element of our community,” Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow said. “Their input, experience and expertise assist sanctuary managers in making informed and timely decisions on how best to protect and conserve our important cultural and natural resources.”

The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following seats: commercial shipping (primary member and alternate); whale watching (primary member and alternate); ocean recreation (primary member and alternate); business/commerce (primary member and alternate); citizen-at-large (primary member and alternate); conservation (primary member and alternate); tourism (primary member and alternate); youth (primary member and alternate); Native Hawaiian (alternate); research (alternate) and Hawaii County (alternate).

Candidates are selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding the protection and management of marine resources.

Applications are due Sept. 30. To receive an application kit or for further information, contact Malia Chow, sanctuary superintendent, via email at Malia.Chow@noaa.gov; by phone at 397-2651, ext. 251; or visit the sanctuary website at hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. Completed applications should be submitted to: Malia Chow, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, Suite 301, Honolulu, HI 96825.

By local and wire sources

A portion of the last sentence in an article in Friday’s edition about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s visit to Cyanotech was omitted. The last paragraph should have read: “Cysewski said in the early 1980s, the market for spirulina was growing, but the product was all being grown in Mexico, particularly in an area near polluted Mexico City. He saw an opportunity in Kona that offered year-round warm temperatures, the most sunlight of any American coastal area, land available at NELHA and access to cold, deep seawater, which the company uses in its algae drying process.”