Wednesday | March 22, 2017
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In Brief | Big Island & State

Brush fire snarls traffic in Ka‘u

Traffic was reduced briefly to one lane on Highway 11 on Friday due to a brush fire.

The small fire burned 1,500 square feet of brush along the side of the highway, said Ty Medeiros, West Hawaii battalion chief with the Fire Department.

Police reduced traffic to one lane at mile marker 71 near Kahuku Ranch to allow fire fighters to extinguish the fire.

Medeiros said it took half an hour to extinguish.

New law could help increase Native Hawaiian roll

HONOLULU — A new state law allowing proof of ancestry to be taken from several sources is expected to make it easier to expand the roll of Native Hawaiians — a move that could help them form their own government.

The law that went into effect on Monday aims to increase the number of people on the roll by reducing paperwork and redundancy on various lists of Native Hawaiians such as those at Kamehameha Schools and for homestead land leases, Hawaii News Now reported Thursday.

“Just the other week I was talking to one of my good friends and she had mentioned to me, ‘I have list fatigue already,’” said Naalehu Antony, a member of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, also known as Kanaiolowalu.

The new law will allow the commission to use information from entities such as Kamehameha Schools, the Department of Hawaiian Home Land and the Department of Health to compile the roll.

For example, a verification letter from Kamehameha Schools will be sufficient proof that someone is Native Hawaiian, Anthony said.

With a comprehensive list, Native Hawaiians could follow American Indian tribes in forming their own governments.

There are currently less than 15,000 people on the Hawaiian roll. The deadline to sign it has been extended to January.

Health officials have also agreed to confirm if someone is Native Hawaiian instead of the person having to pay $10 to request a birth certificate.

“We’ve simplified the process to be able to ask the Department of Health, given this person’s name and this person’s date of birth if they’re Hawaiian and it’s just a yes or no.”

Woman testifies about alleged rape in Maui pasture

WAILUKU, Maui — A Maui judge has ruled there’s enough evidence to support sex assault charges against a man whose accuser says she initially lied about the alleged attack.

The 20-year-old Kula woman said in court she that lied about knowing who tied her up and raped her in a Haiku pasture because she was afraid he would come after her and she would get in trouble for using drugs.

The Maui News reports that after detoxing from oxycodone she says she told a detective the truth. She testified Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for Philip Robbennolt-O’Connell, who is charged with sexual assault, kidnapping, terroristic threatening and other charges. She says he promised her pills in exchange for a ride and they ended up in a secluded area.

Hawaii Kai man charged in samurai sword incident

HONOLULU — A 27-year-old Hawaii Kai man is accused of threatening a man and a woman with samurai swords.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports James Kaumeheiwa is charged with terroristic threatening.

Police say he was arguing with a 55-year-old man Wednesday in a Hawaii Kai home. Kaumeheiwa allegedly threatened the man and a 73-year-old woman with two samurai swords.

He is being held on $30,000 bail and was on his way to court Friday morning.

CLARIFICATION: Council dining comment from earlier time

A quote in Thursday’s newspaper by Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi about seven council members dining together at Drysdale’s Two Restaurant in Keauhou referred to the 2008 County Council, not the current one.

It is the policy of West Hawaii Today to correct promptly any incorrect or misleading information when it is brought to the attention of the newspaper.

By local and wire sources